Friday, January 15, 2021

Law Society ponders impeachment of Chief Justice

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) is to seek legal opinion on whether Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo can be impeached for a circular he wrote last year suggesting that lawyers may be bribing judges.

This follows their annual General Meeting in Maun, November last year where it was resolved the society must, simultaneously get a legal opinion on whether the letter and its contents are tantamount to misconduct and warrant the CJ’s impeachment and further interrogate what other action can be taken regarding the non-delivery of judgments and access to the Court Records Management System (CRMS. LSB this week reiterated its position that it will not leave any stone unturned in its quest to extract a public apology from the Chief Justice.

LSB Secretary Tebogo Moipolai also rubbished claims from some observers that their continued demand for a public apology from Dibotelo is likely to escalate their strained relationship. “LSB does not think it should. Our view is that the CJ has made suggestions of bribery by practitioners and has to date failed to provide evidence of such activities. He has however apologized to the Judges and it would therefore follow that the same would be applicable for the practitioners,” he said. Moipolai said the society has a duty to ensure that the good name of the profession is protected. Asked what kind of apology the society wants from the Chief Justice, Moipolai said “A public apology retracting the allegations of bribery.

This has been done with the Judges so it follows that the same would apply for practitioners.” He also confirmed that at the Maun AGM, a resolution was taken to write a letter to the Chief Justice adding that Dibotelo is yet to respond to the letter. “The letter was written as per Resolution of the AGM. No response has been received,” he said. On a related matter, Moipolai also confirmed that the society has received numerous complaints from its members on the non delivery of judgments.

“The Society has received complaints from its members and the public at large relating to delayed delivery of Judgments. The CJ also acknowledged the problem at the Opening of the Legal Year on 4th February 2014,” said Moipolai. He added that the Society is currently not contemplating any judicial remedy. Public Relations officer at the High court, Clement Sibanda, had promised to respond to a question sent three weeks ago but at the time of going to press he had not done so. The matter arises from a strong worded circular he addressed to the Attorney General and legal practitioners, Dibotelo insinuating that some of his colleagues could be benefiting from underhanded dealings as a result of forum shopping.

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