Justices Godfrey Nthomiwa and Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe have deposed confirmatory affidavits in support of their suspended colleagues.
On Wednesday, Justices Key Dingake, Modiri Letsididi, Mercy Garekwe and Ranier Busang, filed an urgent application to interdict the sitting of the tribunal appointed by President Ian Khama to investigate their conduct. They also want their suspensions set aside.
Nthomiwa and Ketlogetswe were also signatory to the petition of the 12 judges to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in August, making an array of allegations against the Chief Justice, Maruping Dibotelo.
Nthomiwa was until his appointment as the judge on August 1, 2013, the Registrar and Master of the High Court. In that capacity he was also the accounting officer.
Ketlogetswe was appointed judge in April 2012 and before his appointment, he was the Deputy Registrar and Master of the High Court based at the Francistown High Court. “In that capacity I was also the sub warrant holder reporting to the accounting officer (the Registrar and Master),” said Ketlogetswe.
Both Nthomiwa and Ketlogetswe’s tenures as Registrar and Deputy Registrar were responsible for the efficient running of the Administration of Justice and particularly the judges and their welfare.
“I was also responsible for their welfare which included accommodation. I can confirm that the situation of judges continuing to receive housing allowances when they were in occupation of government accommodation is not unique to the four applicants herein. It has happened to other judges during my tenure and the way it was handled was in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Public Finance Management Act. No one was sanctioned or reported to the police for this,” wrote Nthomiwa.
Furthermore, Nthomiwa confirmed that it is not unusual for government employees to be overpaid salaries and/or allowance. In every year the Public Accounts Committee reports instances of overpayments generally in each government department and records action taken. “These actions hardly include criminal sanction, let alone disciplinary sanction of the accounting officer responsible,” said Nthomiwa.
Ketlogetswe for his part confirmed that he was the one who informed the applicants of one instance where a judge received the housing allowance that they were not entitled to. “I also informed them that it is not uncommon for officers to be overpaid and that the practice is for the money overpaid to be recovered in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act,” said Ketlogetswe.