Govt pays foreign judges
THE three foreign judges who were recruited by the government to preside over high profile murder and attempted murder cases involving politicians and serving and former members of the national security agencies were paid their salaries at the end of last month.
Two months ago, two Botswana judges, Justices Onkemetse Bashi Tshosa and Kabelo Kenneth Lebotse, were sworn in by the Acting Chief Justice, ‘Maseforo Mahase, as government moved to ensure that the much-delayed high-profile criminal trials got underway.
They joined Zimbabwean judge, Justice Charles Hungwe, who was the first to be sworn in January 2019.
A fortnight ago a local weekly quoted well-paced sources saying the judges might quit after a deadlock with the government over their salaries and benefits.
The judges had not been paid for the past two months due to delays that have exposed the shocking bureaucracy within the government.
The Lesotho Times followed up on the story with an analysis a week later titled: “Thabane needs to urgently tackle problems in judiciary”. Analysts who spoke to this publication that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane needs to urgently address the grievances of the foreign judges because the country cannot afford the loss of confidence in the judicial system and the attendant consequences including the collapse of the rule of law and the resultant flagging of Lesotho as an investment risk.
This week, the Public Relations Officer of the Judiciary, Mabohlokoa Mapikitla, told the Lesotho Times that although there were delays, the three judges were paid at the end of September for that month and the previous month when they started work.
“It is not true that the judges have not been paid and those claims are impacting negatively on the judiciary,” Ms Mapikitla said.
“Their salaries may have been delayed but at the end of September they got their monthly salaries for August and September. I cannot disclose how much they were paid as a person’s salary is confidential issue with employer,” Ms Mapikitla said.