Justice Majara responds to ‘show cause’ letter
CHIEF Justice Nthomeng Majara has issued a damning response to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s demand that she ‘show cause’ why she should not be impeached over alleged misconduct.
Dr Thabane wrote to Majara on the 27th of April this year and asked her to show cause why she should not be impeached for misconduct including the failure to ensure the timeous delivery of justice as well as her controversial M27 000 per month housing deal which is reportedly way above the authorised limit.
Justice Majara wrote back to the premier on 2 May and instead requested further information which would enable her “to deal comprehensively with the complaints raised in your letter”.
Some of the information she requested included the names of the judges who had failed to attend to cases under her watch as well as the specific cases they failed to attend to and the dates.
She also asked Dr Thabane to furnish her with specific details about the international trips she is said to have undertaken while neglecting her responsibilities to attend to the backlog of cases before the High Court.
Although she did not defend herself against the allegations in her letter to Dr Thabane, Justice Majara issued a comprehensive response to the allegations in an affidavit that accompanied the court application she launched yesterday to have Dr Thabane interdicted from acting against her.
In response to the claim that she failed to attend to court cases, Justice Majara states that “this statement is not correct as I have always presided over not only contested matters but uncontested matters as well”.
“Not only that I have sat and delivered judgements in the Court of Appeal,” Justice Majara states.
She also states that in April 2015, she presided over nine appeals, another eight in October 2015, two in March 2016, five in October 2016 and three in February 2017.
She also indicates that she also presided over 27 cases in the High Court including 19 constitutional cases. This year she has presided over 12 cases so far.
“It is convenient at this stage that I indicate that I inherited a court system that was almost paralysed and dysfunctional mainly due to insufficient human and other resources but I have done the best I could through my engagement style to induce a responsible work ethic not only among judges but also among support staff,” Justice Majara states.
Dr Thabane had also accused Justice Majara of engaging in a verbal spat with the Minister of Law, Lebohang Hlaele in her official speech at the opening of the High Court session in February this year.
At the time, Justice Majara revealed that she was contemplating legal action against Mr Hlaele who publicly accused her of corruption in connection with the M27 0000 housing rent deal in December last year.
Justice Majara described Mr Hlaele’s comments as part of the “increasing blatant and brazen attacks of the courts and the office of the Chief Justice”.
She further warned the nation and especially members of the executive against attacking the judiciary, saying this not only undermined the principle of separation of powers, but also placed the lives of judicial officers in danger.
And in her court papers, Justice Majara said Dr Thabane should have taken action against Mr Hlaele for publicly attacking her instead.
Mr Hlaele attacked the Chief Justice when he addressed scores of Basotho who had staged a protest march to demand the swearing-in of Justice Kananelo Mosito as Court of Appeal President on 9 December 2017.
Addressing the protestors, Mr Hlaele took a swipe at Justice Majara saying she had to either resign or face an impeachment tribunal for corruption over the rental deal.
“The only advice that I have for her is to go,” Mr Hlaele said.
“She should resign. Otherwise, she will be put before a tribunal to face harsh punishment for stealing people’s money. It is a punishment befitting her actions because she has called it upon herself.”
And in one of the charges, Dr Thabane accused the chief justice of renting a house for M27 000 per month from her colleague, Justice Teboho Moiloa. The amount is reportedly way above the M4000 statutory allocation for her housing allowance.
However, Justice Majara said she had been cleared of any wrong-doing by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offenses (DCEO) “which conducted its own investigations and concluded that there was no criminality”.
“The sub-lease was handled by the office of the registrar and appropriate approvals were sought and granted before it could be concluded. This notwithstanding the fact that the judiciary is now entitled by law to run its own affairs including financial affairs.”
Justice Majara suggested that Dr Thabane only penned the ‘show cause’ letter and decided on the legal route of advising His Majesty to suspend her and appoint a tribunal after his unlawful attempts to remove her through coercion failed.
“In all circumstances the first respondent is using the constitutional procedures and processes to achieve indirectly my removal from office which he had unlawfully started negotiating and when it failed he is abusing the powers set out in the constitution to seek to achieve the same result,” she states.