Judge grills Rethabile Mosisili’s lawyer

Judge grills Rethabile Mosisili’s lawyer

MASERU – COURT of Appeal judge Justice Moses Chinhengo on Tuesday rebuked a lawyer who is representing the son of former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili for politicizing the case.
Justice Chinhengo told Advocate Thabo Mpaka that Rethabile Mosisili’s case had nothing to do with party politics.
He said Mpaka must focus on legal arguments and not politics.

Mosisili is fighting to be reinstated as Lesotho’s chief delegate at the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission (LHWC), a position he had occupied from April to July 2017.
He was fired and reassigned back to his position of deputy principal secretary for the Ministry of Water Affairs on July 24, 2017, just 21 days after his father lost power to Thomas Thabane.
Mosisili argues that he was recalled by the government without being afforded a hearing.

In a letter recalling him from his position, the Thabane-led government said his appointment had not been approved by the Public Service Commission and was therefore null and void.
Mosisili however challenged this in the High Court but Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi dismissed his application on October 11, 2017 and ordered him to pay the costs of suit.
In his appeal, which Justice Chinhengo heard on Tuesday, a lawyer representing Mosisili argued that Justice Monaphathi misdirected himself by dealing with the merits of his case instead of the procedure that government followed in nullifying his appointment to the LHWC.

“The learned judge in the court a quo misdirected himself in dealing with the merits of the recall instead of the process leading to the recall, thereby misinterpreting the nature of review proceedings because in review proceedings the correctness of the decision is not in issue,” part of Mosisili’s appeal reads.
“The learned judge in the court a quo erred and misdirected himself in dismissing the application as the evidence reveals that the appellant was not granted a prior hearing, hence the review and conflated it with the requirements of an interdict, holding that the appellant did not have a clear right.”

Advocate Mpaka said Justice Monaphathi misdirected himself because “the evidence reveals that (Mosisili) was not granted a prior hearing hence [the need for a] review”.
He said once the matter is classified as an executive decision, the court ought to have declined jurisdiction and not dealt with the merits of the application.
“The classification is immaterial before the common law,” he added.

Justice Chinhengo fired a salvo of questions at Advocate Mpaka during the proceedings. One of the questions was: “Can a civil servant assume appointment without the Public Service Commission’s approval and if so what are the consequences likely to be faced by such person?” Advocate Mpaka said it is not possible as the Public Service Commission can defer such appointment until it is satisfied.

Senate Sekotlo

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