Monday, October 19, 2020

Justice Gaongalelwe, Rannowane sue government

High Court Judge Terrence Rannowane and Court of Appeal judge Monametsi Gaongalelwe have notified the Attorney General Athaliah Molokomme of their intention to sue government to court over an audit report suggesting that they drew housing allowance they were not entitled to.

The two judges have engaged Armstrong Attorneys to take the government to court to set aside the confidential audit report that implicate them in the never-ending saga at the Administration of Justice (AoJ).

Registrar of the High Michael Motlhabi has confirmed that the two judges have issued a statutory notice to sue government.

“Both the other High Court Judge and the Justice of Appeal… have challenged the conclusion of the Auditor that they improperly received housing allowances, which remain unpaid,” said Motlhabi.

He added that “They have given Statutory Notice to the relevant Authorities of their intention to commence legal proceedings to set aside that finding of the Auditor.”

The two judges want the audit report to be set aside because they insist that they do not owe the Administration of Justice. The pair maintains they were entitled to the allowances they received.

The audit report was conducted by the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security whose portfolio the Administration of Justice falls under.

The audit mentioned Justices Rannowane and Gaongalelwe as beneficiaries of housing allowance whilst occupying institutional accommodation provided by government of Botswana.

The audit further named the current Minister of Basic Education Unity Dow among judges who benefited from illegal housing allowance during her time as a judge.

The trio adds to four other High Court judges suspended by President Ian Khama for illegally enjoying housing allowance whilst accommodated under government properties. The four are: Justice Key Dingake, Rainer Busang, Mercy Garekwe and Modiri Letsididi.

Speaking to Sunday Standard in an interview, Motlhabi said the issue under dispute will be determined by the court, while the fitness for office of the four suspended judges will be determined by the Tribunal appointed by President Ian Khama.

Meanwhile it has emerged that another judge, Justice Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe may have received housing allowance while lodging at Avani Hotel in Gaborone at government’s expense.

Contacted for comment, Justice Ketlogetswe referred this publication to Motlhabi. For his part, Motlhabi would neither deny nor confirm that Ketlogetswe received housing allowance while staying at Avani. “I will have to consult some records,” he said briefly.

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