The Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Selibe
Mochoboroane says they are yet to appeal against the High Court ruling where
the Office of the Master of High Court was seeking an interdiction not to appear
before the PAC.
In its ruling, the court declared unlawful and a nullity issues relating to the Administration of Estates Proclamation No. 19 of 1935 and overall workings of the office of the Mater of the High Court.
Speaking in an interview, Mochoboroane said they intended to appeal the ruling saying since the office of Master of High Court has been established on Parliament Standing Orders therefore that they have every right to question the office because the money that is in its care belongs to the public’s purse until it has been allocated to its rightful owners.
He said the ruling could be very damaging to the economy of the country and could set a bad precedence as parastatals in the country could also feel that they should not be questioned on the revenue they make but only on the subvention that government allocates to them.
He added that Lesotho’s major concern at the moment is corruption which he said would sky rocket if people are given freedom by courts of law to embezzle government funds whichever way they want.
“Lesotho is engulfed in corruption and if courts of law make rulings of this nature then we would have a major problem as the country because people will embezzle public funds freely then Lesotho will be poorer and corruption will be on the rise”, he added.
Meanwhile, Mochoboroane mentioned that they will release the report of the committee as soon as they have completed it adding that thereafter the sessions for the committee regarding the 2017 / 2018 Auditor General’s report will resume.
In this case, Advocate Hlahlobo Moruri and the Master of the High Court, ‘Matahleho Matiea as well as Attorney Moroesi Tau-Thabane filed an application before court in which they wanted the court to prevent the PAC from calling them to appear before it.
The trio filed the application shortly after Advocate Moruri and the Master of High Court were grilled with questions by members of the PAC regarding a series of irregularities that were discovered by the PAC in the office of the Master of High Court and were also ordered to re-appear before same committee.
According to the trio’s notice of motion before court, they wanted the respondents to show cause if any, why the court cannot order that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Clerk to the National Assembly and PAC be interdicted from summoning the applicants to appear before PAC on any given day to testify on any matters relating to the office of the Master of High Court pending finalisation of their application before court.
They also wanted the same respondents to state why they cannot be directed to furnish and or dispatch the record of proceedings and or Hansards of the proceedings of the PAC where Advocate Moruri and Matela testified on or around April 16 and 17, 2018.
The applicants again wanted the respondents to show reasons why the proceedings of PAC of the April 16 and 17, 2018 where Advocate Moruri and Matela testified before PAC cannot be reviewed, corrected and set aside for being illegal, unlawful and or irregular.