The suspended Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) Mahlomola Manyokole’s request for the government to help him with M1.6million has been approved for a tribunal hearing made against him.
Manyokole who has been dragged before Tribunal to deliberate on the question of his fitness to run the anti-corruption unit requested the tribunal last week to allow the state to pay for his legal fees pending a series of cases made against him including that of corruption which has recently been moved from Magistrate to the High Court of Lesotho. The tribunal matter was pushed back to September 20, 2021.
He told this publication that his legal fees that sum up to M1.6million to pay a lawyer has been approved and ready to battle for his reinstatement at the Directorate after a lengthy suspension.
“They have decided to pay for my legal fees and the hearing was postponed to allow witnesses to come and give their testimonies. They have also allowed me to have access to the documents at the DCEO so that I am able to build a case. An access to talk to staffers at the directorate will be answered this Friday (today),” he said.
The latter was suspended by the Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro on the advice of former Minister of Justice and Law, Nqosa Mahao who lamented of Manyokole’s incompetence to run the Directorate earlier this year.
The tribunal is comprised of a committee of judges headed by the retired judges Justice Teboho Moiloa, Semapo Peete, High Court Judge Justice Polo Banyane.
On December 29, 2020, the former Minister of Justice and Law, Nqosa Mahao wrote to Manyokole informing him that a tribunal had been established to investigate his fitness to hold office. The Minister invited Manyokole to make representations why he should not be suspended pending the outcome of the deliberations of the tribunal where he was given three days to make the representations.
Manyokole chose not to make any representations and on December 31, 2020 launched urgent proceedings in the High Court to, on interim basis, interdict the Minister from advising the Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to suspend him and, in the event that such advice had already been given, to interdict the Prime Minister from suspending him; in the alternative, if the Prime Minister had already acted on the advice and suspended him, that such suspension be held in ‘abeyance, inoperative and ineffective.
The legality of the Minister’s letter inviting Manyokole to make representations became a live issue in the proceedings launched on December 31, 2020.
Manyokole also questioned the decision-making of the Minister and the Prime Minister on the common cause ground that he was not afforded a pre-decision hearing. He maintained that he was denied a hearing on his ‘incapacity or commission of misconduct’ before the establishment of the tribunal or before the Minister made an ‘adverse representation’ to the Prime Minister.
He further accused Mahao and Mojoro of being actuated by malice in initiating the statutory power under section 4 of the Corruption Act. He makes it plain under oath that the Minister and the Prime Minister are pursuing personal interests in invoking the statutory power created for his removal.
According to the court records of proceedings that previously took place before Justice Mokhesi Moroke, Manyokole stated that he had secret information and intelligence that some people who are the subject of corruption-related investigations by the DCEO under his stewardship and ‘busking (sic) in the comfort of … nefarious criminality … have suggested to the Government that all means must be adopted and employed to ensure my removal from the office of the DCEO.”
According to Manyokole, the first show-cause letter was in pursuit of that stratagem. He avers that after the withdrawal of the first show-cause letter, he ‘received intelligence that Mahao and Majoro are hell-bent towards ensuring that he is removed from the office of the Director General and are making all preparations and strategies to ensure that that goal is achieved.
It is further alleged that the chairperson of the tribunal, Justice Moiloa is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations by the DCEO under his auspices and that the judge’s selection as chairperson is therefore irrational. In that connection, Manyokole alleges that the judge, as former chairperson of Standard Bank, facilitated a corrupt purchase of Standard Bank’s house by its erstwhile Managing Director, Mpho Vumbukani.