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Suspended Judges To Appeal

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Four High Court Judges who have been suspended by President Ian Khama from the bench are considering appealing this week’s court ruling which upheld their suspension.

Justice Tebogo Tau of the Lobatse high court yesterday dismissed with costs the case in which the judges challenged the suspension.

The four judges, Key Dingake, Mercy Garekwe, Modiri Letsididi and Ranier Busang also wanted the court to declare invalid, the decision by the president to appoint a tribunal to investigate their potential removal from office.

They argued that their suspension violates the rule of law and their rights to equal protection of the law.

The judges are embroiled in a dispute with Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo, over his decision to take them to Police for criminal investigation, for receiving housing allowances they were not entitled to.

They had cited President Khama, the Judicial Services Commission, the Attornry General and the Chief Justice as respondents in their application.

In his ruling, Justice Tau said the applicants failed to demonstrate that they have a right to a hearing prior to the suspension pending an enquiry by the tribunal into allegations of their misconduct.

Justice Tau said President Khama acted in accordance with the constitution and that he did not interfere with judicial independence.

He told the judges that the tribunal consists of former judges and that their findings will be binding on the president.

The concerned judges say they intend to appeal as they believe the court did not deal the issues they raised.

The suspension that is effective from September 1st was imposed after the judges criticized Justice Dibotelo’s conduct against them, and signed a petition seeking his impeachment.

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