Health PS in the dock
THE High Court on Monday this week ordered the Ministry of Health Principal Secretary (PS), Lefu Manyokole, to apologise “within two days”, for disobeying an instruction issued by Justice Molefi Makara on 19 March this year.
The order followed Mr Monyokole’s arrest on Monday morning after the High Court issued a warrant for his apprehension on Thursday last week.
According to documents before the court, Mr Monyokole defied Justice Makara’s ruling which interdicted the PS from transferring Nursing Sister ‘Masekake Nkuebe from Ratjomose Clinic to Mafeteng Government Hospital due to her ill-health.
In her papers, Ms Nkuebe asked the High Court to hold Mr Manyokole in contempt of the judge’s decision, and also accuses the PS, as the chief accounting officer of the ministry, of withholding her salary for the past five months.
According to the court papers, the PS has been withholding Ms Nkuebe’s salary since March, despite her continued performance of her duties at Ratjomose Clinic.
In his ruling on Wednesday last week, Justice Makara said Mr Manyokole’s failure to comply with the court’s order was “contemptuous conduct”, and that he should be jailed for the offense.
A warrant for Mr Monyokole’s arrest was then issued the following day, and when the police brought the PS to court on Monday, Justice Makara did not enforce the imprisonment, but asked the PS to apologise for his actions, instead.
The judge also ordered Mr Monyokole to facilitate the payment of Ms Nkuebe’s salary “within two days”, and ordered him to “refrain” from insisting on transferring her.
However, the judge said if Mr Manyokole fails to comply with the orders, he would be sent to prison.
Meanwhile, Justice Makara’s decision came after a lengthy discussion with lawyers for both the defence and prosecution, in his chambers.