SUSPENDED President of the Court of Appeal Justice Kananelo Mosito on Tuesday lost a case in which he wanted the High Court to compel the government to supply him with information for his impeachment trial.
This was after the tribunal investigating Justice Mosito for possible impeachment had ruled that he was not entitled to the documents which the suspended judge insists are necessary for his defence. The tribunal is comprised of chairperson Justice Frederik Daniel Jacobus Brand, Justice Noel Victor Hurt, and Justice John Godfrey Foxcroft who are all from South Africa.
Justice Mosito was supposed to have submitted his written defence by 1 June 2016 to the tribunal for the proceedings scheduled for next Monday.
Justice Mosito, who was appointed Court of Appeal President in January 2015, is accused of failing to pay tax for his law firm between 1996 and 2014.
In his application filed before the High Court last month, Justice Mosito wanted to access documents authorising his prosecution for alleged tax evasion and information on previous prosecutions for the offence.
The government, Justice Frederik Daniel Jacobus Brand, Justice Noel Victor Hurt, and Justice John Godfrey Foxcroft and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe were cited as first to fifth respondents respectively in the matter.
However, acting High Court judge Justice John ‘Musi on Tuesday dismissed Justice Mosito’s application on the grounds the tribunal’s ruling to deny him the particulars would not result in a miscarriage of justice.
“I am of the view that no grave injustice would occur if I leave the decision of the tribunal to stand,” said Justice ‘Musi.
“A judge must always act with integrity and honesty. A judge’s duty to act with integrity and to uphold high ethical standards does not mysteriously disappear because he/she is a litigant or an accused person. There is a duty on a judge – even as an accused – to act openly and with candour when charged with an offence.”
He slated Justice Mosito for using “delay tactics”, saying such an approach by a judged diminished the esteem of the judiciary.
“Obfuscation, delay tactics, and unreasonable legal points do not do the judge and the judiciary any favours; in fact it diminishes the respect of the judiciary in the eyes of the public,” charged Justice ‘Musi.
“The duty to act honestly and frankly means that a judge who is the subject of an inquiry should make full disclosure as early as possible and he/she must be mindful of the fact that although he/she is an accused person, he/she still has a duty to assist the tribunal in getting to the bottom of the investigation as soon as possible.”
He added: “The transcendent virtues of a judge should shine through and be seen even during his/her darkest hour.”
Justice ‘Musi ordered the suspended judge to file his statement of defence to the tribunal before 4pm tomorrow.