Judge grants top cop’s application

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Tefo Tefo

HIGH Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi on Tuesday granted Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa’s application for the late filing of an affidavit to defend his decision to dismiss ‘Mabohlokoa Makotoko from the police service four months ago.

Commissioner Letsoepa dismissed Ms Makotoko in March for alleged misconduct.

Ms Makotoko subsequently filed an application before the High Court on 31 March 2017 for an order to nullify the police commissioner’s decision on the grounds that she was not afforded a hearing before she was dismissed.

In terms of the normal procedure, Commissioner Letsoepa was supposed to have filed his answering affidavit to Ms Makotoko’s application by 21 April 2017 but he only filed it on 2 May 2017.

He filed the condonation application asking the court to allow the late filing on the grounds that he had failed to file within the prescribed time because he was out of country on official duty related to the 3 June 2017 National Assembly elections.

Justice Monaphathi subsequently granted his application, saying he was satisfied that his lawyer, Advocate Salemane Phafane (King’s Counsel), had managed to justify the late filing of the affidavit.

The application for condonation was granted despite Ms Makotoko’s lawyer Advocate Letuka Molati’s contention that the commissioner only asked for condonation only for seven days counting from 21 April to 1 May, saying he should have asked for condonation for the days starting 31 March 2017 when the review application was filed.

“This condonation application should be dismissed also on the reason that they have no prospects of success in the main application (review application),” Advocate Letuka Molati further argued.

“For instance, we have asked for a record of the disciplinary hearing proceedings that led to her dismissal, but the commissioner clearly states that there is no record of proceedings.

“It means they have no prospects of success in the main application.

“We even wrote a letter to the respondent to say please file on or before the 21st of April.”

However, Advocate Phafane argued that the commissioner was only late by seven days.

Advocate Phafane said he had to apply for condonation of the late filing after realising that Ms Makotoko’s lawyer raised the issue in the replying affidavit.

“We could not apply for condonation starting from the 31st of March because we were still within our time until the 21st of April. We were late on starting from the 22nd April.

“There is also a clear explanation why we could not file in time. We have clearly said the commissioner was out of the country on security matters in preparation for the elections.

“That is sufficient explanation for this condonation application to succeed,” Advocate Phafane said.

He further argued that Commissioner Letsoepa had prospects of success in the review application because Ms Makotoko “was given a hearing”.

“What we did was to write a show cause letter and she responded through her lawyers. That is sufficient.

“However, I don’t want to go into the merits of the application in the main,” Advocate Phafane added.

Justice Monaphathi subsequently told both lawyers to approach the office of the registrar for a date of hearing the review application after upholding Commissioner Letsoepa’s application.

Ms Makotoko was the main witness in the ongoing case to investigate the whereabouts of the Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng who went missing in March last year at Hlotse Police Station.

 

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