PAC sued over proceedings

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Pascalinah Kabi

THE High Court will tomorrow hear an urgent application in a case in which the Master of the High Court, ‘Makatleho Matia and two others are seeking an order to interdict the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) from summoning them to appear before it.

Ms Matia, Advocates Hlompho Morori and Moroesi Tau-Thabane also want the High Court to interdict the PAC from investigating or dealing with matters related to the Administration of Estates Proclamation No.19 of 1935.

Adv Morori is the former Assistant Master of the High Court while Adv Tau-Thabane was appointed executor of the estate of the late Kubutu Simon Makhakhe in January 2013. The appointment was made by the office of the Master of the High Court.

The office of the Master of the High Court administers a guardian fund for minor children whose parents have died or are incapacitated.

The trio have already appeared before the PAC on 16 and 17 April this year to respond to allegations that the office of the Master of the High Court misappropriated funds from the estate of the late Molise Mapetla.

Mpho Mapetla, one of the children of the late Mr Mapetla, testified before the PAC last month and challenged the manner in which the office of the Master of the High Court administered their father’s estate. She alleged that Adv Morori cheated her and her siblings of their inheritance.

The PAC then directed the principal secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Service, Lebohang Mochaba, to investigate circumstances surrounding the disbursement of the orphans’ M546 574.83 inheritance by Adv Morori.

The PAC further directed PS Mochaba, Ms Matia, Adv Morori and other employees to appear before it on 15 May this year (yesterday) with a full report of what had transpired during the execution of late Mr Mapetla’s estate.

One ‘Mathungthung Makhakhe, also alleged during the same April PAC proceedings, that she was cheated out of her husband’s inheritance. Ms Makhakhe also challenged the appointment of Adv Tau-Thabane as the executor of her late husband, Kubutu Makhakhe’s estate.

However, in a twist of events, Ms Matia, Adv Morori and Adv Tau-Thabane filed court papers last Friday seeking to interdict the PAC from further interrogating them on the allegations tabled against them. They want a final order to have the PAC barred from ever investigating the issues relating to the administration of the deceased estates.

They argue that the forum in which they were called to respond to the allegations levelled against them was not a proper one and they say they will suffer “irreparable harm” should the PAC proceedings be allowed to continue in the same manner.

They want the High Court to direct the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly, PAC, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Attorney General to expunge the record of proceedings and/ or Hansards of the proceedings where Ms Matia and Adv Morori testified before the PAC.

They also want the court to direct the PAC to remove and expunge all the evidence tabled before the PAC relating to the complaints and or allegations levelled against any one of or all of the applicants.

The Speaker of National Assembly, the Clerk of National Assembly, the PAC, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and the Attorney General are cited respectively as 1st to 5th respondents respectively.

“The proceedings of the 3rd respondent (PAC) of the 16th and 17th April 2018 where the 1st applicant (Adv Morori) and or 2nd applicant (Master of the High Court) testified before the 3rd respondent on issues relating to the administration of estates proclamation No.19 of 1935 and the overall workings of the office of the Master Of The High Court should be declared unlawful and a nullity,” part of the court papers state.

Meanwhile, the PAC Chairperson, Selibe Mochoboroane, yesterday said they had instructed Attorney General Haae Phoofolo to prepare to defend the PAC in court tomorrow.

Mr Mochoboroane said that losing the case would set a bad precedent where civil servants would loot public funds safe in the knowledge that their actions would never be interrogated.

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