Judge’s ouster null and void

Judge’s ouster null and void

MASERU – THE High Court on Monday ruled that the termination of Justice Yvonne Mokgoro’s appointment as the acting President of the Court of Appeal was null and void.
The ruling was handed down by three acting judges, Justices Aubrey Ledwaba, Margaret Victor and Keoagile Matojane.
The judges ruled that provisions of section 124 (6) of the Constitution were not complied with prior to her ouster.

“Having reviewed all the circumstances of this case, in particular the fact that Justice Mokgoro was lawfully appointed as per the letter of His Majesty the King dated 27 February 2018 that she did not resign but was induced by the misrepresentation of the Prime Minister in the correspondence to withdraw from the office,” the court ruled.
The court ruled that the decision of the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to recommend the appointment of Justice ’Maseshophe Hlajoane to King Letsie III and her subsequent appointment is reviewed and set aside as irregular and unconstitutional.

Justice Mokgoro is from South Africa and was appointed as the Acting President of the Court of Appeal after three prominent lawyers successfully blocked Justice Kananelo Mosito’s appointment to as President of the Court of Appeal.

In February this year, King’s Counsel Motiea Teele, Zwelakhe Mda, Karabo Mohau and Attorney Qhalehang Letsika successfully challenged the reappointment of Justice Mosito to head the Court of Appeal.

The court decided that the revocation of Justice Mokgoro and the appointment of Justice Hlajoane to the same position violated the provisions of the constitution.
Justice Hlajoane, Prime Minister Thabane, Minister of Law Lebohang Hlaele, Minister of Justice Mokhele Moletsane, Attorney General Advocate Haae Phoofolo KC, Justice Mokgoro and the King were cited as respondents in the case.

The court ordered them to pay the costs of the case. But the respondents on Tuesday through their lawyer Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai appealed against the judgement.
The ground of their appeal was that the High Court erred and misdirected itself by concluding that the applicants have the requisite locus standi to institute litigation.

Their lawyer argued that the High Court erred by failing to pay attention to the fact that Justice Hlajoane was appointed to a vacant portfolio of President of the Court of Appeal.
This is more so as Madam Justice Mokgoro had since issued a letter indicating that she was withdrawing from the appointment, the court heard.

The applicants told the upper court that the Prime Minister interfered in the removal from office of Justice Mokgoro as the Acting President of the Court of Appeal.
They claim that the removal was null and void.

Senate Sekotlo

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