Date for Manyokole’s appearance before tribunal

Lesotho Times
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DCEO boss, Mahlomola Manyokole

Pascalinah Kabi

THE suspended Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) director general, Mahlomola Manyokole, will on 30 August 2021 appear before a tribunal to determine his fitness to remain in office.

The tribunal was set up last December by Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro. It is headed by Retired Justice Teboho Moiloa, who will be assisted by High Court Judge Polo Banyane and retired judge, Semapo Peete.

Advocate Manyokole was suspended on 7 January 2021 by Dr Majoro on allegations of incompetence. He was suspended on the advice of then Justice and Law Minister, Nqosa Mahao.

Justice Moiloa on Monday set down 30 August 2021 as the date for the impeachment proceedings. This after the government’s lawyer, Monaheng Rasekoai, indicated that he and his team were under strict instructions to ensure that proceedings were concluded “soonest”. The date was set in Adv Manyokole’s absence.

Adv Manyokole refused to attend the tribunal’s Monday session at Manthabiseng Convention Centre on the grounds that the tribunal secretary, Adv Moeketsi Masoabi, had unlawfully demanded that he attends.

He accused the government of failing to respond to his 31 May 2021 request for financial assistance to enable him to effectively participate in the tribunal.

He said that he had requested the recusal of Justice Moiloa as he was the subject of a DCEO corruption probe which he supervised before his suspension.

Adv Manyokole also accused the tribunal of overlooking his personal circumstances when it set Monday for his first appearance before the tribunal. He said he was committed to resolving pressing family matters in South Africa from 2 to 16 August 2021.

He states all this in a highly charged 28 July 2021 letter to Adv Masoabi.

However, Mr Rasekoai appeared before the tribunal on behalf of the government. He said his team had already consulted with eight witnesses and they would consult another eight before “summing up” the evidence they would present to the tribunal.

“Without being melodramatic, we want this matter to be concluded soonest and it is our hope that he (Manyokole) would want to clear his name so that the stability of this delicate institution (DCEO) is attained at the end of the day,” Mr Rasekoai said.

“We strongly feel that some of the issues raised can be properly canvassed by this tribunal and through the right procedures and channels. We observe that the director general has indicated that he could only be available on the 16th of August and we are not going to yield to that proposal. It is unprocedural for him to apply for postponement by virtue of a letter.

“What further makes our job difficult is that to date we still do not know who his legal representative is. In our considered view we can conclude this hearing within a full week,” Mr Rasekoai added.

Justice Moiloa then said the tribunal would be guided by the need to ensure “fairness and justice”.

He said the government must file its affidavits and other supporting documents by 12 August and Adv Manyokole must respond by 23 August.

The government would respond to Adv Manyokole’s submissions by 25 August to enable the tribunal to begin the hearing on 30 August.

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