THREE South African judges arrived in Maseru yesterday to preside over a case in which Court of Appeal President Kananelo Mosito wants to stop his tax-evasion trial which begins this morning.
The judges are North Gauteng High Court Deputy President Aubrey Ledwaba, Justice Elizabeth Mamoloko Kubushi and Justice David Stephanus Fourie. The two justices are also from the North Gauteng High Court.
High Court Assistant Registrar Staford Sharite confirmed the judges’ arrival yesterday, adding they would be sworn-in today just before trial proceeds in the Constitutional Court.
“They will be sworn-in by Acting Chief Justice (Tšeliso) Monaphathi at 9am because Madam Chief Justice (Nthomeng Majara) is out of the country on official business,” Mr Sharite said.
Justice Mosito wants the Constitutional Court to quash tax-evasion charges against him on the basis that they are motivated by malice and therefore illegal. To support his claim, Advocate Mosito says his fellow judges and top lawyers have not been charged despite failing to pay their tax as required by the law.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) King’s Counsel Leaba Thetsane preferred criminal charges against Justice Mosito on 21 August 2015 for allegedly not paying tax for his legal firm from 1996 to 2014.
Justice Mosito is charged with violating provisions of the Income Tax Act of 1993, and Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act of 1981.
According to the charges, Justice Mosito never registered with the tax authorities as required by the law and only did so on 20 April 2015.
However, the Court of Appeal president on 30 August 2015 filed a constitutional case to have the charges dropped.
In addition to the application, the court is also expected to hear Justice Mosito’s prayer for the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) to be compelled to disclose the tax status of all the country’s judges and five senior lawyers.
Justice Mosito claims the judges and lawyers in question also evaded tax but were not charged, hence his argument the charges against him were discriminatory and malicious.
The lawyers in question are Advocates Karabo Mohau, Motiea Teele, Salemane Phafane, Zwelakhe Mda (all King’s Counsel) and Attorney Qhalehang Letsika.