Former con­sul takes govt to court

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

FORMER con­sular at the Em­bassy of Kuwait, Sekake Mo­hale (pic­tured), has lodged an ur­gent High Court ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing to stop For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane from ex­clud­ing him when ap­point­ing coun­sel­lors or diplo­mats.

Al­ter­na­tively, Mr Mo­hale seeks the sus­pen­sion of his 17 May 2016 let­ter of re­call pend­ing the deter­mi­na­tion of the main ap­pli­ca­tion.

He also seeks an or­der for the re­spon­dents -- who in­clude Mr Sekhamane, his prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, the min­istry and At­tor­ney-gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe – to pay him the bal­ance of his 36-month em­ploy­ment con­tract prior to his re­call.

Mr Mo­hale lodged the ap­pli­ca­tion on Mon­day this week, with Jus­tice Semapo Peete or­der­ing the re­spon­dents to file their an­swer­ing af­fi­davits by 27 April this year.

In his found­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Mo­hale says on 10 April 2016 he was as­signed to go to the Sene­galese em­bassy in Kuwait along with Thuso Ke­mane who was a third sec­re­tary at the Le­sotho mis­sion.

The as­sign­ment, he says, was to col­lect al­co­holic bev­er­ages for em­bassy of­fi­cials with two ve­hi­cles.

The duo de­liv­ered the drinks to em­bassy of­fi­cials and Mr Mo­hale says he later left the Le­sotho em­bassy to buy food with Mr Ke­mane in his car which car­ried the lat­ter’s share of the al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

He says they were stopped at a po­lice check­point, with the law en­force­ment of­fi­cers de­mand­ing their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments. The cops dis­cov­ered the al­co­hol in the car and or­dered Mr Ke­mane to park his ve­hi­cle on the side of the road.

Mr Mo­hale says an al­ter­ca­tion en­sued with the po­lice who ac­cused them of il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of al­co­hol. Con­sump­tion of al­co­hol is il­le­gal in Kuwait.

De­spite his protes­ta­tions that they were al­lowed to pos­sess al­co­hol since they were em­bassy staff, Mr Mo­hale says they were de­tained at a po­lice sta­tion for some hours be­fore the is­sue was even­tu­ally re­solved.

Mr Mo­hale says he re­ceived a let­ter of “ei­ther re­call or ter­mi­na­tion” from Mr Sekhamane.

He ar­gues that the min­is­ter’s “de­sired end” was “ar­bi­trar­ily termi- nat­ing my con­tract with­out a le­gal ba­sis”.

Mr Mo­hale fur­ther states that he even­tu­ally en­tered into ne­go­ti­a­tions with the min­istry fol­low­ing his re­call. Among the is­sues agreed, he says, was for him to be re­as­signed for another tour of duty in the same ca­pac­ity.

“Based on these ne­go­ti­a­tions, I have been re­laxed over a year hop­ing that there would be progress in this re­gard...if this hon­or­able court does not in­ter­vene in these pro­ceed­ings, I shall suf­fer ir­repara­ble harm be­cause the case shall be ren­dered moot and aca­demic by the ap­point­ment of any other diplo­mats in the ca­pac­ity of coun­sel­lor in my ex­clu­sion of con­sid­er­a­tion de­spite the com­mit­ments by the re­spon­dents herein,” he adds.

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