Gaborone High Court Judge Justice Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe has issued a stern warning against Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi to “swallow his pride” and obey court rules and procedures.
Ketlogetswe cautioned Morupisi in a case in which the Permanent Secretary to the president was dragged to court for firing Palapye based Senior Assistant Council Secretary Koti Molefi.
Ketlogetswe who felt that Morupisi was not treating the case with the seriousness it deserved asked State lawyer Grenorrah Begane from Attorney General Chamber if Morupisi was listed as witness and if his statements were recorded to which the lawyer answered in the negative.
“He (Morupisi) is not a witness in this case and has not tendered in his statement but I’m instructed to advise this court that the PSP would avail himself to this court but as to when it was not communicated and that is why I’m seeking the court permission to find out when he will be available because I understand he is busy with some other pressing matters,” said Begane.
Ketlogetswe did not take kindly to the explanation by Begane that Morupisi would avail himself at the time convenient to him and not court.
Begane asked to take the blame on behalf of Morupisi and requested that the matter be postponed to allow him to liaise with his bosses.
Ketlogetswe hit back and warned that it was improper and unprofessional because Morupisi was not listed as a witness and he has not even bothered to tender his statement.
“’I’m not going to listen and allow the PSP to tell me on how I should conduct the business proceedings of this court. I’m not going to postpone this matter just for the sake of PSP. But I will allow you to advance your position going forward,” said Ketlogetswe.
Begane told the court that those were his final submissions and wanted the case to be wrapped up.
Defense lawyer, Meshack Mthimkhulu opposed the postponement of the case arguing that it will prejudice his client who is currently unemployed due to Morupisi’s conduct in carrying his duties. Mthimkhulu argued that Morupisi relied on a falsified internal Audit which was conducted by one Godiramang Kontse and some remarks made during a kgotla meeting.
According to court records, Molefi was fired after he had responded to a question during a kgotla meeting from one Reverend Nyaza who had wanted to know if “Civil servants only do their work when threatened by Permanent Secretary to the President.?”
Molefi who had attended the Kgotla meeting which was addressed by Minister of Lands and Housing on the 14th January 2016 responded by saying “as a custom civil servants do their work diligently with minimal supervision as per the Public Service Act and Public Service Code.”
He reportedly added that “should any officer fail to perform they must be reported to their immediate supervisor and should that fail then the matter may be taken to any higher office and not being threatened by Permanent Secretary to the President like Revered Nyaza is claiming.”
The court heard that this did not sit well with Morupisi who was not in attendance but heard it from one of his loyalists who had attended the said meeting.
Testifying, Council Secretary Gaolathe Dipholo said Morupisi had not followed the proper procedure in dismissing Molefi from work.
Dipholo confirmed that PSP has ordered Molefi to convene another meeting to retract his words on the 14th January 2016.