Likoti wins case

Likoti wins case

MASERU – PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane yesterday lost a Constitutional case in which a former top civil servant, Dr Fako Likoti, was challenging his decision to deny him his pension.
Dr Likoti, who was a political advisor to former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, had a loan with Nedbank Lesotho which the government settled on his behalf after he lost his job prematurely.
The government however withheld his pension after Thabane was elected Prime Minister.

Dr Likoti then asked the High Court to interdict Thabane along with Finance Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro, the Attorney General and two others from holding the payment of his pension.
He asked the court to grant an order to review and set aside as unconstitutional the government’s decision to recover from him money it had paid to Nedbank Lesotho to settle the loan after he vacated his position as advisor to the Prime Minister.

In his ruling yesterday, High Court Judge Justice Molefi Makara said Dr Likoti should be granted all benefits due to him without costs.
The judge said Dr Likoti had proved his case as he had delivered all the necessary evidence in court.
He said the government had failed to file or respond to the issues raised in Dr Likoti’s affidavit.

Justice Makara said the government had also failed to submit its heads of arguments electronically to the court.
He further said the government had not cited any law upon which its decision to deny Dr Likoti his pension was based on.
The judge said the government had “treated (Dr Likoti) unfairly as he had an outstanding balance which gave him a loan, service to loan, having settled their loans guaranteed by the government”.

He said the way the government acted was as if Dr Likoti never followed proper procedures when he was granted that loan.
Dr Likoti said the government did not pay his benefits because it wanted to recover the M500 000 interest fee loan he took during his tenure as Mosisili’s adviser from Nedbank Lesotho.
In his affidavit, Dr Likoti said it was reasonable for the government to settle the loans for him and the former Principal Secretaries because they were not able to repay them as they lost their jobs as a result of the early dissolution of Parliament.

“Naturally and indeed as a matter of common sense, logic and objective reality, the early dissolution of Parliament in 2017 impacted negatively on the respective borrowers for the loans, that regarding their continued financial ability to service the loans with the banks, through monthly salaries, thus, it incapacitated them to repay to the lending banks,” he said.
Justice Makara said what was done to Dr Likoti was unfair and amounted to discrimination.
“His benefits should be granted,” he said.

He said the fact that the respondents did not reply to any of the allegations made by the applicant was an indication they were true.
“What was denied in the notice of motion should be recognised as a fact,” Justice Makara said.

Itumeleng Khoete

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