Ad­vo­cate Phoofolo ap­pointed AG

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

PROM­I­NENT lawyer and former in­terim Prime Min­is­ter, Haae Phoofolo, has been ap­pointed the new At­tor­ney Gen­eral with ef­fect from 8 Fe­bru­ary this year.

Part of the ap­point­ment let­ter signed by Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary, Moahloli Mphaka, states that, “I am di­rected to in­form you that pur­suant to Sec­tion 140 (1) of the Con­sti­tu­tional of Le­sotho, His Majesty the King act­ing in ac­cor­dance with the ad­vice of the Prime Min­is­ter has de­cided to ap­point you as At­tor­ney Gen­eral”.

Mr Mphaka fur­ther in­formed Ad­vo­cate Phoofolo KC that he will be fur­nished with the con­tract of em­ploy­ment in due course and that his terms of en­gage­ment were in ac­cor­dance with the Statu­tory Salaries Reg­u­la­tions that were cur­rently in force.

How­ever, the op­po­si­tion has crit­i­cised Adv Phoofolo’s ap­point­ment ar­gu­ing that he was in seven­ties and way be­yond the re­tire­ment age of 55 years. The so­cial me­dia was also abuzz with at­tacks on gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to en­gage an older per­son to fill-in the po­si­tion of AG.

In 2014, former At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Tšokolo Makhethe, was ousted from of­fice by Dr Tha­bane dur­ing his first ten­ure for hav­ing ex­ceeded the age of 55 years.

He only re­sumed his du­ties in 2015 af­ter Dr Tha­bane’s first coali­tion gov­ern­ment col­lapsed and his ten­ure even­tu­ally ended in Au­gust 2017.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Ex­press yes­ter­day, the Press At­taché in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Thabo Thakalekoala de­fended Adv Phoofolo’s ap­point­ment, say­ing the new AG’s age had noth­ing to do with his po­si­tion.

“The is­sue of age is of no sub­stance as long as the hon­ourable Prime Min­is­ter is sat­is­fied that the per­son el­i­gi­ble to be­come His Majesty’s le­gal ad­vi­sor is of sound mind, able to per­form du­ties as­signed to them. Adv Phoofolo fits this de­scrip­tion.

“Se­condly, on the is­sue where they are say­ing he is not a civil ser­vant, the law clearly states that the gov­ern­ment can ap­point a non-civil ser­vant to any po­si­tion on con­trac­tual ba­sis and Ntate Phoofolo is not an ex­cep­tion,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

He said there were many peo­ple em­ployed by the gov­ern­ment un­der a sim­i­lar con­trac­tual ar­range­ment and Ad­vo­cate Phoofolo was given a three-year con­tract based on the con­sti­tu­tion.

“The pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion ab­sorbed peo­ple who were al­ready on pen­sion into the sys­tem and gave them jobs on con­trac­tual ba­sis. We are there­fore ask­ing them to stop con­fus­ing and mis­lead­ing the na­tion by pre­tend­ing to show sur­prise at Ad­vo­cate Phoofolo’s ap­point­ment. This is not pe­cu­liar, the gov­ern­ment has not vi­o­lated any law in their ap­point­ment of the new AG,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

Adv Phoofolo KC served as in­terim Prime Min­is­ter of Le­sotho from 17 Au­gust 1994 to 14 Septem­ber 1994. He re­ceived a joint law de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of Botswana, Le­sotho and Swazi­land (BOLESWA) and the Uni­ver­sity of Ed­in­burg in Scot­land in 1974. He later ob­tained a MSc. de­gree in bank­ing and money man­age­ment from Adel­phi Uni­ver­sity, New York in 1977.

In 1974, he was ad­mit­ted to the Le­sotho bar and served as an at­tor­ney, con­veyancer and no­tary pub­lic in the High Court and Court of Ap­peal in 1978. He be­gan his pub­lic ca­reer as le­gal ad­vi­sor to the Le­sotho Na­tional Devel­op­ment Bank.

Three years later, he was ap­pointed com­mis­sioner of fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in the Min­istry of Fi­nance. In 1981, he par­tic­i­pated in the cre­ation of the Le­sotho Cen­tral Bank and was ap­pointed deputy gover­nor in 1983. Be­tween 1986 and 2012, he worked as an at­tor­ney and served as a con­sul­tant and gained a rep­u­ta­tion as a hu­man rights ad­vo­cate.

In 2012, he was ap­pointed Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Hu­man Rights, Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice and Law and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs.

NEWLY ap­pointed At­tor­ney Gen­eral Haae Phoofolo.

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