Judgment reserved in Mosito case
THE High Court on Tuesday reserved judgment in a case in which suspended Court of Appeal President Justice Kananelo Mosito seeks access to information for his impeachment trial.
This was after the tribunal investigating Justice Mosito for possible impeachment had ruled that he was not entitled to the documents which the suspended judge insists are necessary for his defence. Justice Mosito, who was appointed Court of Appeal President in January 2015, is accused of failing to pay tax for his law firm between 1996 and 2014.
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had used the tax evasion charges to convene a three-member tribunal for his possible impeachment.
In his application filed before the High Court last month, Justice Mosito wants to access documents authorising his prosecution for alleged tax evasion and information on previous prosecutions for the offence.
The government, Justice Frederik Daniel Jacobus Brand, Justice Noel Victor Hurt, and Justice John Godfrey Foxcroft and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe are cited as first to fifth respondents respectively in this matter.
He also wants to be appraised on the government’s “locus standi” as the complainant, and demands proof in writing of a complaint made against him.
Justice Mosito also queries the legality of the process used to prefer tax-evasion charges.
“Was the information contained in the affidavit of the Commissioner for domestic taxes, made under section 223 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act 1981? Regarding the confidential tax affairs of the respondent, was it made pursuant to a court order in terms of section 202 of the Income Tax order 1993?
“If the answers are in the affirmative, a copy of the orders are requested thereof. If not so, on what basis was such information released by the commissioner for Domestic taxes?”
Justice Mosito also seeks information on other tax evasion prosecutions.
“How many prosecutions have been brought annually since LRA (Lesotho Revenue Authority) came into being in 2003 for failing to file tax returns/late filing of tax returns? The detailed statistics thereof are requested,” he says.
“How many prosecutions were continued where the taxpayer has no money owed and has subsequently filed their tax returns? Have other judges been investigated for their tax affairs? The detailed statistics thereof are requested.
“What proportion of eligible tax payers have paid their taxes in each of the years the respondent is accused of not having done so?”
Justice Mosito was represented by Advocate Monaheng Seeiso Rasekoai, while the tribunal was represented by Attorney Qhalehang Letsika. Mr Makhethe was represented by Advocate Guido Penzhorn assisted by Advocate Ronald Surh.