Tem­po­rary re­lief for Am­bas­sador to US

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

SUS­PENDED Am­bas­sador to the United States of America, Ad­vo­cate Kele­bone Maope ( pic­tured), has been granted an in­ter­dict al­low­ing him to con­tinue his ben­e­fits and have ac­cess to his of­fice un­til his court ap­pli­ca­tion against an en­vis­aged gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho probe into his al­leged mis­con­duct probe has been fi­nalised by the High Court.

The in­ter­dict was granted last Fri­day by Jus­tice Semapo Peete after Ad­vo­cate Maope, who is also Le­sotho’s Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions (UN), had filed an ap­pli­ca­tion against an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the High Court seek­ing to prevent the gov­ern­ment from in­ves­ti­gat­ing him for un­spec­i­fied al­leged mis­con­duct in New York in the USA.

The gov­ern­ment on 27 De­cem­ber 2017 wrote to Ad­vo­cate Maope sus­pend­ing him from of­fice as am­bas­sador and Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive with im­me­di­ate ef­fect pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his al­leged mis­con­duct.

The let­ter states that he would be en­ti­tled to his monthly salary and his res­i­dence but he is pre­vented from en­ter­ing his work premises un­til the probe is over.

Part of the let­ter reads: “This serves to in­form you that you are hereby be­ing sus­pended from your of­fi­cial du­ties of Le­sotho’s Am­bas­sador and Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions, ef­fec­tive from 27 De­cem­ber 2017.”

“You are, how­ever, pro­hib­ited to en­ter the premises of Le­sotho- New York and/or to use any other prop­erty owned or leased by Le­sotho New York in­clud­ing an of­fi­cial car which will con­tinue to serve the mis­sion’s daily op­er­a­tions.”

Ad­vo­cate Maope sub­se­quently filed an ur­gent be­fore the High Court chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion.

He cited the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary for the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs, Le­sego Mak­gothi and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and the At­tor­ney Gen­eral as first to third re­spon­dents re­spec­tively.

Jus­tice Peete last Fri­day or­dered that Ad­vo­cate Maope be al­lowed ac­cess to his of­fices, con­tinue re­ceiv­ing his salary and use the of­fi­cial car un­til the case has been fi­nalised.

He also or­dered that the case should be heard on 19 Jan­uary this year.

In his ap­pli­ca­tion, Ad­vo­cate Maope, wants the re­spon­dents to ‘show cause’ why his sus­pen­sion “as Am­bas­sador and Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the King­dom of Le­sotho to the United Na­tions in New York, USA, shall not be re­viewed, cor­rected and set aside.”

He also wants the re­spon­dents to ‘ show cause’ why “the re­spon­dent’s de­ci­sion to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ap­pli­cant’s al­leged act(s) of mis­con­duct shall not be re­viewed, cor­rected and set aside.”

Mo­ti­vat­ing his ap­pli­ca­tion Ad­vo­cate Maope made an af­fi­davit stat­ing the background of the events that led to his law­suit.

He states that the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary wrote to him sus­pend­ing him from his du­ties to al­low in­ves­ti­ga­tions into what he says was his al­leged mis­con­duct dur­ing the Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs’ visit in New York on the oc­ca­sion of the Gen­eral Con­fer­ence of the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice last month.

“I humbly sub­mit that the de­ci­sion to in­ves­ti­gate al­leged act(s) of mis­con­duct against me, my sus­pen­sion, as well as its terms, are un­fair, ir­reg­u­lar, ir­ra­tional, un­law­ful and in­valid for the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

“The de­ci­sion to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion against me is very dras­tic and con­sti­tute a blot on my dig­nity and rep­u­ta­tion and it should have been made fol­low­ing a fair process.

“I should have been in­formed of the al­le­ga­tions made against me and in­vited to ‘show cause’ why an in­ves­ti­ga­tion should not be con­ducted against me,” part of his af­fi­davit reads.

“The sus­pen­sion can only be cal­cu­lated to cre­ate em­bar­rass­ing cu­rios­ity about my sta­tus as Am­bas­sador and a diplo­matic in­ci­dent that can only do harm to the im­age of Le­sotho. There are no time frames about how long the sus- pen­sion and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will last.”

He fur­ther ar­gues his sus­pen­sion will prevent him from at­tend­ing some of the events ben­e­fi­cial to Le­sotho.

He re­it­er­ates: “The al­le­ga­tion of mis­con­duct against me is com­pletely un­founded.”

Ad­vo­cate Maope is in his sec­ond term in New York as Le­sotho’s Am­bas­sador and Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

He first went on the mis­sion in 2012 on three year con­tract.

His sec­ond term be­gan on 5 July 2016 and ends on 5 July 2019.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.