THE director general of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), Advocate Mahlomola Manyokole, has launched a fresh High Court bid to stop Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro from firing him.
Adv Manyokole wants the High Court to interdict Law and Justice Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao from advising Dr Majoro to suspend him as the DCEO boss while a three-member tribunal investigates his fitness to remain in office.
He also wants the court to set aside the tribunal set up by Dr Majoro to inquire into his fitness to remain in office.
He filed his application last Friday and the matter will be heard today by Justice Moroke Mokhesi.
Justice Mokhesi is expected to hear arguments from Adv Manyokole’s Lawyer, Adv Tekane Maqakachane, and the respondents’ lawyers.
Dr Majoro, Prof Mahao, Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane, Attorney General Haae Phoofolo, the tribunal on the removal of director general of the DCEO, Justice Teboho Moiloa, Justice Semapo Peete and Justice Polo Banyane are first to eighth respondents respectively in the application.
Attorney Monaheng Rasekoai is representing Dr Majoro and Prof Mahao, Attorney Kuili Ndebele is representing Justice Sakoane and Adv Phoofolo while Adv Christopher Lephuthing is representing the tribunal.
The moves to get rid of Adv Manyokole started on 10 December 2020 when Prof Mahao issued him with the first letter demanding that he “show cause” why he should not be suspended pending investigations into his fitness to remain in office.
Adv Manyokole approached the High Court the following day and before the matter could be heard, Prof Mahao withdrew the “show cause” letter. The two parties said they had reached an out of court settlement to be presented before Justice Molefi Makara, who was initially expected to preside over their dispute, for endorsement as an order of court.
But this did not happen for reasons that have still not been made public. In place of the out of court settlement, Dr Majoro on 24 December 2020 set up the three-member tribunal headed by retired Judge Moiloa to investigate Adv Manyokole’s fitness to remain in office. Fellow retired Judge Peete and Justice Banyane are the other members of the tribunal.
They were asked to begin their task on 24 December 2020 in terms of the gazetted legal notice No 139 of 2020.
Five days later, Prof Mahao slapped Adv Manyokole with another letter demanding that he “show cause” why he should not be suspended pending the investigations into his fitness to hold office.
Adv Manyokole immediately rushed back to the High Court on 1 January 2021. The parties agreed before Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo not to take any further action against each other to allow Adv Manyokole’s application to be finalised by the court.
Both sides again appeared in court on Monday before Justice Mokhesi who resolved to hear the matter today.
In terms of the reliefs, Adv Manyokole wants “the decision of Dr Majoro to appoint a tribunal on the removal of the director general of the DCEO in terms of Legal Notice No.139 of 2020 to be reviewed, corrected and set aside”.
He wants the legal notice “appointing the tribunal on the removal of the director general of the DCEO be declared illegal, irregular, null and void and of no force or effect in law”.
“The decision of the Chief Justice to select Justice Teboho Moiloa as a member and chairperson of the tribunal … be reviewed, corrected and set aside.
“It be declared by this court that the establishment of the tribunal by the first respondent (Dr Majoro), the show cause letter by the second respondent (Mahao) dated 29 December 2020 and any suspension of the applicant (Manyokole) from the exercise of the functions of the office of the director general of the DCEO constitute an unlawful threat and violation of the independence and autonomy of the DCEO enshrined by the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act.
“The second respondent’s decision to call upon the first applicant (Manyokole) to show cause why the second respondent (Mahao) may not advise or recommend to the first respondent (Majoro) to suspend the applicant from the exercise of the functions of the office of the director general of the DCEO pursuant to the letter dated 29 December 2020 be reviewed, corrected and set aside. The second respondent’s letter calling upon the applicant to show cause why … be set aside as illegal and of no force or effect in law.
“In the event that the first respondent nonetheless proceeds to suspend the applicant pursuant to the advice of the second respondent based on the letter dated 29 December 2020 notwithstanding service and institution of these present proceedings, such decision be reviewed, corrected and set aside,” Adv Manyokole prays.
In his application, Adv Manyokole details corruption allegations he says he is investigating against Dr Majoro, Prof Mahao and Justice Moiloa himself. (see lead story on Page 2)