MASERU — Former Chief Justice Mahapela Lehohla is still enjoying the benefits of his former post despite his retirement last month.
Justice Lehohla went on leave for six months before retiring on August 13.
Lesotho Times has established Justice Lehohla still has his water, telephone and electricity bills paid for by the government of Lesotho.
Although Justice Lehohla has since moved out of his former official residence he still has his two official vehicles with him and a 24 hour guard, a domestic worker and a gardener paid from the government coffers.
When contacted about the matter, the Registrar of the High Court Lesitsi Mokeke told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that it has come to his office’s attention the former Chief Justice was still enjoying the benefits.
He however said after realising this, his office alerted the Minister of Justice Mophato Monyake.
Mokeke said: “Yes he still has his official vehicles and other benefits, but we have since alerted the Minister about this.”
Mokeke could not comment further about the former Chief Justice’s benefits saying he was out of the country attending a conference which was about to begin.
However, Monyake confirmed Justice Lehohla was still enjoying his benefits but said his office was now waiting for Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to be the one to clarify when such benefits would cease.
“We are actually giving the Prime Minister the courtesy to be the one to say when we should stop providing the benefits to the former Chief Justice,” he said.
Monyake said without official communication from the Prime Minister Justice Lehohla would continue to enjoy benefits that come with his office as the ministry does not wish to ambush Lehohla.
“Ideally we should have had the registrar give the Chief justice and the judges time to prepare to vacate government premises and to surrender all the benefits they were receiving. That would enable us to have the incoming judges enjoy those benefits too,” he said.
Monyake said it is prudent to wait for official correspondence on the matter from the Prime Minister as a Chief Justice is very high on the tier of government hence the need for the Prime Minister to be the one to give an instruction.
“It’s actually a matter of courtesy. On the other hand we still have Justice Guni still enjoying his benefits as though he is still part of the bench though he retired last year.
“It seems like people were not being informed about when benefits should be revoked,” said Monyake.