Former DPP fights for package

Former DPP fights for package

MASERU – THE embattled Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Advocate Leaba Thetsane KC is refusing to go as government pushes for his immediate ouster. In an urgent application filed in the High Court last Wednesday, Thetsane is challenging Law Minister Lebohang Hlaele’s decision to send him on forced leave pending retirement.

Thetsane was set to retire in July this year.
He wants the court to declare a decision reached through the Public Service Commission on January 17 to send him on terminal leave null and void and with no effect.

Thetsane asks the court to declare the decision contrary to the provisions of the constitution.
Thetsane was at first not hostile towards leaving office until the government allegedly “miscalculated” his exit package.
He tells the court that his understanding was that the government, which he says made it clear that it wanted him out, would give him all his entitlements.

Thetsane is demanding M1.2 million.
In his court papers, Thetsane says the stated amount of M684 299 is his statutory payment which “I ought to receive up to the end of my service in July 2018”.

He argues that his understanding is that had it not been for the government’s wish to terminate his service beforehand, and against the statutory retirement period, he would still receive the money.

Thetsane further argues that his proposal is based on his lawful benefits, remuneration and establishment packages and thus would not form the proposal to buy him out of office beforehand or expiration of his tenure in office.

He says he proposes the following as the proper “buyout” by the government of Lesotho:
(a) Payment of his establishment benefits, entitlements, salary and allowances calculated at the rate of 12 months.
(b) The initial 7 months being statutory benefits he is entitled to receive up until the end of his tenure in office being July 2018 to the sum of M684 299. 26

(c) The additional 5 months of benefits, entitlements, salary and allowance, representing proposal for immediate buyout as desired by the government to the sum of M486, 642. 32

He says he is also entitled to the expert fees of M31 500 from December 8 to January 2, 2017.
Thetsane informs the court that he has a leave entitlement of three days per month.
And the unutilised leave carried over for two years is paid out to a maximum of 50 percent.

“This is just but to mention some of the benefits enjoyed by the DDP during his tenure of office as such,” Thetsane says.
Thetsane says the current DPP enjoys the trappings of office which form part of benefits and privileges which include office telephone, unlimited airtime and data, newspapers (local and international), refreshments, toll gate card in Lesotho and South Africa.

He says with reference to his letter dated December 20, 2017 he is “pleased to revert to the proposed government buyout package for the DPP”.
“It has come to my realisation that there were omissions and under-calculations in the proposal communicated to myself detailing the proposed buyout,” he says.

“In this regard, I had the pleasure of compiling the computations,” he says.
He accepts the proposal of receiving his benefits before expiration of his tenure in the amount of M684 299 as opposed to the government computation of his entitlements to the tune of M452 581.

Thetsane says he received a letter from Hlaele on September 7 last year directing him to take his outstanding annual leave and proceed on leave on September 13.
He says his fight with the government started in 2014 if not before when he was “purported to retire from the Public Service on the grounds inter alia, that I had reached the statutory stipulated retirement age of 55 years”.

He argues that based on his past experiences, “it is crystal clear that the government is determined to part ways with me”.
The government on the other hand, according to annexure in court papers, proposed to buy him out with money he was not satisfied with.
The government proposed M452 581 which had no other benefits.

Thetsane has since been replaced by Advocate Hlaefang Motinyane.
The Minister of Law Lebohang Hlaele earlier announced that they want somebody who is young and fresh in the office.

Senate Sekotlo

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