Judges want Dibotelo impeached


A week after Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo reported four judges to the police on allegations of fraud, 12 judges of the High Court have written to the Judicial Service Commission seeking his impeachment.

Following the unprecedented move by Chief Justice (CJ) Maruping Dibotelo to report four of his colleagues to the police for investigation, 12 judges have written to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to start impeachment proceedings against him.

Dibotelo had asked the police to investigate justices, Key Dingake, Modiri Letsididi, Mercy Garekwe and Ranier Busang for receiving a  housing allowance despite being accommodated in official residences. Judges are provided with free furnished residential accommodation or housing allowance of P6,545.45 per month where there is no official residence provided. The allowance is paid only to those without such privilege.

Now more judges have joined the fray, petitioning the JSC to impeach Dibotelo. The concerned judges had demanded that the commission respond to them by yesterday, failing which they would write to the appointing authority, President Ian Khama to proceed with the impeachment.

JSC secretary, Michael Motlhabi yesterday confirmed that a communiqué, signed by the 12 judges, has been received by the JSC.

“Its contents were for the information on JSC, on whose behalf I have provided a written response to each of the signatories. I have no authority to disclose the contents of the letter to the JSC or of the response,” said Motlhabi in a written response to Mmegi.

Last week, the judges who are subjects of police investigation for an alleged criminal offence, responded angrily to Dibotelo through a letter dated August 12, 2015. They instructed their lawyers, Chibanda Makgalemele and Company to sue Dibotelo for defamation.

“We are in receipt of your letter with respect to the above matter, which you wrote ostensibly in your capacity as Chief Justice and Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). “We are alarmed that a matter as internal as housing allowance, whose continued receipt at the instance of the Administration of Justice (AoJ) was never raised with us at any point, has become a criminal matter that you have referred to the police for investigation,” wrote the four judges.

Following the Mmegi story last week, Motlhabi, issued a press statement saying “... the decision to refer the issue of wrongful payment and receipt of housing allowance for an independent investigation was that of the Judicial Service Commission as a whole, taken unanimously in good faith after a lengthy and searching debate. It was not, as suggested, a decision taken by the Chief Justice alone”.

“It should be noted that the JSC is charged with protecting the integrity of the Judiciary and of the Administration of Justice. In terms of the internal Audit Report the alleged payments concerned total in excess of P800,000, and this was considered to be a matter that could not be adequately resolved internally,” wrote Motlhabi.

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