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High Court registrar under siege

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The registrar of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, ‘Mathato Sekaoi, is under siege from her juniors who accuse her of intimidation and abuse of power.

The deputy registrar of the High Court, Motlatsi Kolisang, wrote a letter to Sekoai making scurrilous allegations against her and accusing her of abusing her authority to victimise him.

Kolisang wrote the damning letter to Sekoai on June 24 after the two had a nasty fallout.

The letter was copied to the president of the Court of Appeal, chief justice, judges, minister of justice, attorney general, police commissioner, commissioner of correctional services and the principal secretary in the Ministry of Justice.

In that letter, Kolisang wanted Sekoai to explain why she had expelled him from a weekly meeting of the chief justice and principal secretary of the justice ministry on June 23.

He said Sekoai had expelled him “with utmost and blatant disrespect and humiliation a human being would display to another human being”.

Kolisang also accused Sekoai of barring him from attending another strategic meeting that he said he was entitled to attend because of his position.

He said on May 14 the registrar verbally attacked him and “assaulted me with harassment of the highest magnitude”.

He also said Sekoai nearly crushed him with her official vehicle.

He alleges that before the car could stop Sekoai jumped out “like a taxi conductor” and came “running and swearing” at him.

“This happened after you had insulted me over my personal cell phone in the early hours of the morning and abruptly dropping the phone during the conversation,” Kolisang wrote.

He also alleges that Sekoai had denied him leave in June because he had mentioned he wanted to attend a fully sponsored trip to Tanzania.

“I am sorry to state that your actions which seem to continue unabated are by far tantamount to abuse of your discretionary powers on account of reasonableness (sic) and accordingly completely contrary to the rules of natural justice.”

He said Sekoai’s decision to deny him leave was “so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could ever have come to it”.

“The very nature of the discretion vested upon you by virtue of your position requires you to furnish proper and adequate reason for your decision,” Kolisang said.

He then makes other serious allegations about Sekoai’s professional conduct. “In conclusion, I wish to humbly add that you victimise me mainly because I always disagreed and I still swear that I will forever not agree to sign and or approve unlawful transactions which you always try to force me to sign or approve.”

He said during these occasions Sekoai would insult him while staff from the accounts and stores sections watched.

He also alleged that Sekoai also threatened him.

“In this regard I vividly recall the unfortunate moment sometime in June 2009 when you told me point blank (face to face) in Chamber 4 that you will ensure by all means possible that I get imprisoned or assassinated”.

Kolisang refused to comment about the letter or the allegations he makes against Sekoai.

“The letter is confidential and I wish not to comment on it,” Kolisang said yesterday when asked for a comment.

The Lesotho Times can reveal that he was recently summoned by the chief justice and reprimanded for writing the letter.

Apart from Kolisang there are also howls of complaints from other High Court workers.

Assistant registrars who spoke to the Lesotho Times also accused Sekoai intimidating them with threats of dismissal if they raise concerns about their working conditions.

“We live in fear,” said an assistant registrar who refused to be named.

“We are now afraid to say anything because she says she will expel anyone who complains about her.”

Supporting staff are also unhappy about their working conditions, he said.

“Cleaners and messengers have not been given their protective clothing. Furniture has also been removed from their offices. We cannot do our work properly because there is no stationery at the moment.”

He also alleged that professional staff who include assistant registrars and judges’ clerks had also been barred from attending courses.

“We are no longer allowed to attend local or international courses.”

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