Registrar responds to media reports

SHARE   |   Monday, 10 October 2016   |   By C. Sibanda
Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo

The Administration of Justice notes with concern the recent publication by newspapers of selective and one-sided extracts from the report of an internal audit commissioned by the Chief Justice into the unauthorised payment of housing allowances to members of the judiciary. No comment was sought from the Administration of Justice by the writer of the articles. For the record, the position is as follows:

(1) It is a matter of public record that although their failure to repay improperly received allowances was a relevant factor, this was not what led to the suspension of the four Judges and the convening of the tribunal, as you suggest. It was the tone and content of their written response to the Chief Justice copied to all Judges and their subsequent petition letter, which was seen as undermining the authority of the Chief Justice and being damaging to the Judiciary. That is why they were suspended pending the proceedings of the tribunal.

(2) The position of those suspended Judges is entirely different from that of the Court of Appeal Judge and the sitting High Court Judge also referred to in the Audit Report. There has been no challenge by the four to the nearly one million pula of housing allowances which they have improperly received, nor has any of this money been repaid to Government. Both the other High Court Judge and the Justice of Appeal, on the other hand, have challenged the conclusion of the Auditor that they improperly received housing allowances, which remain unpaid. They have given Statutory Notice to the relevant Authorities of their intention to commence legal proceedings to set aside that finding of the Auditor.

(3) The issues under dispute will be determined by the Court, and the fitness for office of the four suspended Judges will be determined by the Tribunal.