- High Court ruled Saleshando’s suspension illegal
The state may suffer yet another high profile defeat in the matter regarding the “illegal” suspension of Dumelang Saleshando from the National Assembly back in July 2020.
Last week, the Court of Appeal dismissed the state’s application for a leave of appeal out of time, with Justice Lakhvinder Singh Walia citing negligence on the part of the Attorney General (AG).
In December 2020, Justice Gabriel Komboni of the Gaborone High Court ruled that Saleshando’s suspension from the House was illegal and set aside the decision of the National Assembly Speaker, Phandu Skelemani.
Suspended for five days
At the time the judgement was handed down, the MP for Maun West had taken the government to court to challenge his suspension from sitting in the National Assembly for five days from 28 July to 5 August 2020 following a presentation he made alleging politically-motivated and corrupt practice in the awarding of government tenders.
“The Attorney General describes the matter as one of national importance,” Justice Walia said. “I have no doubt that it is, but the Attorney General’s sentiments have not been reflected in the manner it was handled even after the filing of the application.”
He stated that in spite of the fact that the application was scheduled for hearing on 26 August 2021, no heads of argument were filed by the applicant until the day before the hearing.
“The attorney appearing for the applicants filed an application for postponement not supported by an affidavit, giving as the reason for postponement the unavailability of the counsel briefed by the applicants,” the judge noted. “There was no explanation, however, for the absence of heads of argument.”
He concluded that the application for postponement was badly motivated and brought in breach of the Rules. “This too was an example of negligence in the Attorney General’s Chambers and I refused the application for postponement, such as it was, and heard the substantive application at the instance of attorneys for both parties, on the papers as filed,” Justice Walia continued.
The judgment for the main appeal is expected to be handed down in the next CoA sitting in November.