Court official back at work after four-year suspension



Tefo Tefo

A High Court official who was suspended on full pay four years ago resumed work this work.

Thabang Mohafa found himself in hot water when he questioned the suitability of Australian judge, Justice John Lyons, to head the Commercial Division of the High Court.

Mr Mohafa wrote a letter to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in January 2012, in which he said Justice Lyons had a controversial stint in the Bahamas before he came to Lesotho in 2010, hence he was not suitable for the job.

In the letter, Mr Mohafa quoted newspaper articles from the Bahamas, which claimed Justice Lyons  employed an accountant who was brother to a woman he had dated.

The newspaper article said the accountant had been appointed to help in a case in which two brothers were fighting over shareholding.

The story also alleged the woman Justice Lyons had dated also worked for her brother on the case.

In February 2012, the JSC wrote to Mr Mohafa, who was a judge’s clerk at the time, asking him to “show cause” why he should not face disciplinary action for allegedly tarnishing Justice Lyons’ image.

“Upon or about the 9th January 2012, you wrote a memorandum addressed to the secretary of the Judicial Service Commission purporting to advise the Honourable Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Commission on the status of Justice John Lyons.

“The memorandum in question was later published in the Lesotho Times newspaper dated 12 March 2012, a local newspaper whose readership is very wide both locally and outside the country.

“The said publication has seriously tarnished the reputation of Justice Lyons as a Commonwealth expert sent to assist the judiciary of Lesotho with the management of the Commercial Court,” read part of the ‘show cause’ letter.

However, the JSC recalled Mr Mohafa this week after he allegedly apologized for the letter.

“At its 105th meeting held on the 18th February 2016, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) accepted a request by the Head of Department to recall you from suspension following its acceptance of your unconditional apology for the indiscretions you committed in the past.

“The commission has however, directed the Head of Department to warn you to genuinely desist from engaging in similar acts of insubordination which led to your suspension.

“You are therefore recalled from the said suspension effectively from 21st March, 2016, so that you can discharge your duties as a Judge’s Clerk.

“You will be placed in the Commercial division of the High Court to fill up the gap created by the resignation of a Judge’s Clerk who was attached to the Commercial Court.”

Contacted on Tuesday, Mr Mohafa confirmed receipt of the letter, but declined to comment further.

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