COURT of Appeal President, Professor Kananelo Mosito is deserving of all the perks that come with his posts in the judiciary and at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu has said.
Mr Mokhothu said this while answering questions by the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing on whether the position of the President of the Court of Appeal was permanent or part-time.
Prof Mosito is also the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
If he holds the position on a part-time basis, Mr Metsing demanded to know why the government was providing the Prof Mosito benefits such as a chauffeur driven vehicle, government security, mobile phone, airtime and government paid housekeepers throughout the year instead of during the sittings of the apex court.
Mr Metsing said it was questionable how the government had allowed Prof Mosito to hold two concurrent civil service posts as NUL vice chancellor and as the Court of Appeal president.
“If part time (to shed some light with regard to) …reasons for the government affording him an opportunity to concurrently serve in two arms of government: the Court of Appeal and the NUL and draw salaries and benefits from both against the long-standing policy that state employees should not draw two salaries from the consolidated fund,” Mr Metsing said.
In his response, Mr Mokhothu said that the Court of Appeal was an ad hoc court and so was its president. As such, the incumbent only received sitting allowances and that did not hinder him from exploring other professional fields in the government.
He said any other queries must therefore be directed to the national reforms.
“Judges in the Court of Appeal are given allowances for sittings. It has always been a standard practice even before the current President of Court of Appeal.
“If there are any disgruntlements to that effect, the national reforms are here to help us iron out such issues,” Mr Mokhothu said.
Mr Mokhothu dismissed claims that Prof Mosito was holding two civil service positions citing a 1998 High Court judgement that NUL employees were not government employees.
“(Prof Mosito) is not working in two arms of government. There is 1998 High Court judgement in a case between E. R. Sekhonyane and the Attorney General where the court declared that NUL employees were not part of the civil service.”
He also said Prof Mosito’s job in the judiciary would not compromise the administration of justice for the NUL community.
“Judgements are not delivered on the basis of relations but on the facts placed before the judge. Relations cannot hinder the administration of justice in any way.
“These questions by Honourable Metsing further demonstrate the need for national reforms government institutions,” Mr Mokhothu said.
In an interview with this publication, Mr Metsing said the government has the duty to rectify the law such that public funds were not exploited.
“It is not fair to say that the President of the Court of Appeal receives allowances when he gets everything that the ministers get throughout the year; two vehicles, security and others. Is it true that such a person only gets an allowance? All those benefits make him as good as a permanent servant. This is not about Ntate Mosito as a person, it is a matter of acceptable principle. Reforms are good but until then, the government has a duty to perform,” Mr Metsing said.