30 June 2011
Judge charged for insulting the king
MBABANE—The Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi has slapped senior judge, Justice Thomas Masuku with 12 counts of serious acts of misbehaviour—including insulting the King.
The man who once told the nation that he is ‘Makhulu Baas’ is also investigating whether Justice Masuku should be removed from office.
According to our sources, the judge was served with a letter informing him of the charges yesterday afternoon and has up until July 22, 2011 to respond.
"The judge has been asked to explain by July 22 why he should not be removed from office, for any or all of the foregoing alleged serious acts of misbehaviour," said a High Court source.
Although the judge has been told to hand in a written explanation by July 22, his hearing has been slated for August 11, where he will be expected to make oral representation before the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).
The Chief Justice is the chairman of the JSC.
Justice Masuku is being accused of insulting the King by using a certain phrase when referring to His Majesty. This phrase will not be repeated, however.
Another serious charge is that he is accused of having ‘actively associated himself with those who want to bring about unlawful change to the regime’.
Justice Masuku, who is also charged with failing to deliver judgments on time, is one of two senior judges at the High Court. It is said there is a case the CJ referred to in the charge sheet that the judge has delayed delivering judgment on.
He is also alleged to have had an illicit affair with a certain judge of the High Court as well as having joined employees of the Central Transport Administration (CTA) in a toyi-toyi on June 17. This was during a show of protest against an Industrial Court judge by the employees who was being accused of failing to finalise their case due to his suspension.
The judge who Justice Masuku is accused of having had an illicit affair with is known to this newspaper, but will not be revealed for defamatory reasons.
However, the CJ wrote in the charge sheet that Justice Masuku brought the judiciary into disrepute, by this alleged affair.
Apparently Justice Masuku was also touting himself to be appointed as Chief Justice.
The Secretary of the JSC Lorraine Hlophe refused to comment last night when asked about this matter.
She was stunned by the news, and said it had not been brought to her attention and therefore she would have to verify the matter with her principals today.
"I will have to verify what you are telling me. I am not aware of any of it. I will therefore not be in a position to comment right now," she stated.
Even when called an hour later, she was still adamant that there was no truth in the reports, and that her position remained the same.
Justice Masuku’s phone rang unanswered last night when called for comment.
He was called repeatedly but to no avail. However, this newspaper can reveal that he did receive the letter informing him of the charges.
There were also unconfirmed reports that he has also been suspended from work.
"I do not know about that either," said Hlophe when asked about it.
High Court sources had alleged the judge has been suspended.
Meanwhile, our sources said they were stunned by the latest news from the High Court and said it showed all was not well.