Manyokole seeks Justice Moiloa’s recusal
SUSPENDED Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) Director General, Mahlomola Manyokole, wants retired High Court Judge Teboho Moiloa to recuse himself from chairing the tribunal that was set up to probe his fitness to remain in office.
Advocate Manyokole argues that prior to his suspension, he was investigating several corruption cases in which Justice Moiloa was implicated. The investigations irked Justice Moiloa and several other influential people who then sought his removal from the DCEO, Adv Manyokole states in his recusal application. He therefore argues that the former judge is highly unlikely to be impartial towards him and should therefore recuse himself. The recusal application will be heard today by the tribunal.
The tribunal was set up in December 2020 by Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to probe him for alleged incompetence. It is headed by Justice Moiloa, who is assisted by High Court Judge Polo Banyane and retired judge, Semapo Peete.
In his recusal application yesterday, Adv Manyokole said, “I aver that the chairperson of the tribunal, Justice Joseph Moiloa is in law required to recuse himself from participating in the proceedings for the following reasons:
“Before my appointment as the DG of the DCEO, the DCEO investigated the rental scheme involving Justice Moiloa’s house which was rented to the former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara without following public procurement regulations. At the time, Justice Majara was entitled to about M4000 per month as housing allowance. But the court rented and paid around M27 000 monthly as rentals out of the judiciary funds for the occupation of Justice Moiloa’s house, a scheme which benefited Justice Moiloa’s estate and caused the DCEO to investigate the alleged scheme.”
Adv Manyokole said it was even reported in the local media that the former DCEO boss, Borotho Matsoso, had said he was investigating the alleged housing scandal. He said he took on the case after replacing Adv Matsoso in July 2019 and this had led to the ‘trumped-up’ charges to remove him from office.
“My decision to reopen the case, reached Justice Moiloa and some politicians, and this is the real reason and cause for my removal from the post of DG,” Adv Manyokole states in his papers.
He adds that there were several other cases including money laundering allegations that he was probing against Justice Moiloa.
However, the state is opposing the recusal application. Acting DCEO director general, Sefako Seema, is supporting the state. He argued that the DCEO had already investigated some of the cases that Adv Manyokole was referring to and found that the allegations were just a “red herring”.
“Even assuming that there are such investigations pending, which I dispute, the mere fact that the chairperson of the tribunal is a subject of investigation by the DCEO does not bar him from performing his statutory mandate hereunder.
“I am saying this because, such investigations if any, are conducted by the institution of the DCEO and not by a suspended individual or agent of the DCEO. It is therefore patently disingenuous for the applicant (Manyokole) to personally attribute to himself institutional imperatives as though he is the institution even in circumstances where he is under suspension as in the instant case,” Adv Seema said.
Earlier this week, Adv Manyokole had also accused the DCEO of intimidating and threatening some of the DCEO staffers he had requested to testify in his defence.
He said due to the alleged threats the staffers had resolved not to testify on his behalf. However, the state lawyer, Mohaneng Rasekoai, denied Adv Manyokole’s claims. He instead accused him of seeking to frustrate the tribunal proceedings.