Tuesday, May 24, 2022

DPSM director faces jail time for contempt of court

The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSO) has notified lawyers acting for government that they will be instituting contempt of court proceedings against the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM), Carter Morupisi, which may result in him serving time behind bars.

“In view of this unprecedented and blatant disregard of the High Court Order by your client, we are under strict instructions to apply to the High Court for an Order that, inter alia, your client, the DPSM, be punished for contempt of court. He may be committed to gaol thereof. We will shortly serve your client with the contempt of court papers,” states the letter addressed to Collins Newman and Company and signed by Tshiamo Rantao.

This follows indications by government that it will not reinstate sacked essential services workers in defiance of an order by the High Court.

BOFEPUSO has warned they will cite government for contempt of Court if it continues to turn away scores of sacked public employees that the High Court has reinstated after holding that they were unfairly dismissed from work.

In a counter letter dated 22nd June 2012 union lawyers, Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys, have stated that they are shocked that government has deliberately chosen to disregard a High Court Order setting aside the dismissals of the employees.

The High Court has ordered that the employees should report to work in fourteen days.
On Friday, government lawyers, Collins Newman and Company, through a letter, notified the Unions that government intends to appeal the High Court decision.

Government says that owing to what it terms numerous errors of “fact and law” it intends to appeal the judgment and strongly believes the Court of Appeal will uphold the appeal.

The lawyers point out that the judgment by Justice Key Dingake has ordered an act of specific performance against government; this, they point out, is contrary to the States Proceedings Act.
They further argue that, at the minimum, government should have been given three months to comply with the Court order.

Government has stated that it intends to file an urgent leave to appeal in the coming week. It hopes the appeal will be heard in the upcoming Court of Appeals session commencing on the 28 of June.

“In light of the contents of this letter, our client does not believe it is in the interests of any of the parties that there must be confrontation. As such, our client believes that you should bring the contents of this letter to your clients and specifically inform them that they are not required to report for work until our clients application for leave to appeal has been decided,” reads the letter from Collins and Newman.

“…Accordingly, pending the determination of our client’s appeal, your clients are not required to tender their services. To the extent that your clients have tendered their services, our client will not accept such a tender and your clients will be turned away,” the letter reads in part.
The turning away of employees who had reported for work has prompted Unions to bay for the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) Carter Morupisi’s blood. According to the Unions, Morupisi is in contempt of Justice Dingake’s Order.

“In view of this unprecedented and blatant disregard of the High Court Order by your client, we are under strict instructions to apply to the High Court for an Order that, inter alia, your client, the DPSM, be punished for contempt of court. He may be committed to gaol thereof. We will shortly serve your client with the contempt of court papers,” states the letter addressed to Collins Newman and Company and signed by Tshiamo Rantao.

The Union contends that Government should honour the judgment or apply to the High Court to suspend it.

“Kindly advise your client that our clients’ members in whose favour the judgment is will report to work and your client is expected to welcome them as his employees. Should he continue to disregard the court order next week, we will treat that as an aggravating factor in the contempt proceedings and, therefore, pray the Honourable Court to mete out an enhanced punishment. His conduct has clearly brought the name of the judiciary into disrepute,” states Rantao.

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