The law society is expected to take legal action against Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo after he failed to honour their ultimatum for an apology. The law society had given the Chief Justice up to the end of business Friday to have apologized for his remarks imputing impropriety on local lawyers, but Justice Dibotelo had neither responded nor tendered an apology Friday night.
This was confirmed by Law Society of Botswana (LSB) Chairman Lawrence Lecha in brief interview on Friday. The society pointed out that Dibotelo issued a statement apologizing following a threat by judges at the Lobatse High to “go on strike” but had omitted to apologise to legal practitioners and his staff at registries. The society demanded that Dibotelo produce evidence of practitioners who have offered bribes to either judges or staff members at the Registry in furtherance of forum shopping. “Please be advised that should an apology not be forthcoming by close of business tomorrow (25 Friday 2013) the Law Society will take all action necessary and available to it and extract same from you. The society trusts that this will not be necessary and you shall see the need as you did with your brothers and sisters at the bench to apologise,” reads part of the statement from the law society.
The society also demanded that that Justice Dibotelo should produce evidence of corrupt practices by practitioners or apologise to them. Should no apology be received one will be extracted by any means necessary, the LSB said without explaining what means were to be used to extract the apology from Dibotelo. The LSB also demanded that Dibotelo advises it as to what has been done to address various concerns which are hindering delivery of justice within 14 days failing which process to compel him to do so will be commenced. The LSB also called on Dibotelo to share with it and the public how to restore the integrity and reputation of the judicial system which his circular, notwithstanding the apology, has tarnished and brought into disrepute.
“In this instance the legal practitioner as the party that registers the process for the client would undoubtedly be part of the corrupt practices that you insinuate may be taking place and yet you have not provided a single shred of evidence,” states the statement from LSB. The LSB challenged Justice Dibotelo that as the authority that promulgates and being custodian of the Court rules, it seems obvious that withdrawing and refilling a matter before it is set down is allowed in the Rules.