Mosito to know fate in February

Mosito to know fate in February

MASERU – JUSTICE Kananelo Mosito will have to wait until February next year to know if the last legal hurdle to his reappointment as Court of Appeal President has been surmounted. This comes after the Constitutional Court yesterday said it will need until February 9 next year to deliver judgement in a case in which senior lawyers are challenging his reappointment as head of the apex court, a position he lost after a bitter battle with the previous government.

The case was heard by two Namibian judges, Justices Ezer Hosea Angula, Shafimana Fikameni Ueitele and South African Mojalefa Rampai.
Attorney Qhalehang Letsika, Advocates Karabo Mohau KC, Motiea Teele KC and Zwelakhe Mda KC approached the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of Justice Mosito’s reappointment.

Their argument was that Justice Mosito cannot be reappointed until the findings of the tribunal that recommended his removal are successfully challenged in court. Former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili advised the king to establish the tribunal after Mosito was indicted on charges of failing to file his tax returns on time.

Mosisili said Justice Mosito was not fit to remain a judge because he had failed to comply with tax regulations.
In its report to the King the tribunal recommended that Justice Mosito be removed not only because he was facing charges but also on account of his behaviour during the hearing.

The tribunal said his conduct “constitutes misbehaviour…and he should be removed from office in the Lesotho judiciary”.
Justice Mosito however resigned before the King could fire him.  But the King still proceeded to fire him on the basis of the tribunal’s recommendations.  Their lawyer Advocate Guido Penzhorn argued yesterday that “there has been no legal challenge to” the tribunal’s findings.
“Until set aside by a competent court, these findings have specific legal consequences, in particular the fact that the King is obliged to act on them by removing (him) from office,” Penzhorn said.
“It is submitted that the Prime Minister cannot vitiate the findings and effect of the tribunal by simply re-appointing the subject of the tribunal’s enquiry,” he said.

“Until the findings of the tribunal are set aside by a competent court effect must be given to such findings.”
Justice Mosito was reappointed President of the Court of Appeal in August, barely two months after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane took over government from Mosisili who had waged both political and legal battles against him.

His Zimbabwean senior lawyer Advocate Eric Matinenga argued that the King would not discipline Justice Mosito after he had resigned.
Matinenga said the decision of the tribunal after Justice Mosito’s resignation was of no legal consequence.
He resigned and was never removed as President of the Court of Appeal, Matinenga argued.

“We submit that he could later be still appointed afresh in terms of section 124(1) of the Constitution,” he said.
The four lawyers argue that it was wrong that Justice P Nugent was removed unconstitutionally so that Justice Mosito could be re-appointed.
Matinenga’s response to this argument is that “they were outsiders who weep louder than the bereaved” because Justice Nugent has not complained.
Matinenga concluded by producing two High Court orders showing that the tax charges against Justice Mosito had been dropped, meaning that he no longer has any criminal case hanging over his head.

He also produced a settlement agreement between Justice Mosito and the office of the DPP, which became an order of court.
However, it was argued that Attorney Letsika who had been mandated by the tribunal to represent it was not party to the settlement.

Staff Reporter

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