Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has denied, in the strongest terms, that anything untoward unfolded in her setting aside the promotion of Anti-Corruption Commission investigator Phelem Masule to the position of chief of investigations and prosecution.
Masule is suing the prime minister after she unceremoniously ordered his removal from the position he occupied for barely three days.
In an answering affidavit filed with the registrar of the High Court Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said that besides being premature – as she has not concluded her consideration of the crucial disputed issue – the application by Masule lacks substance.
According to her, the application does not meet the legal test for interim relief and aside from factual inaccuracies in his founding statement, and his incorrect inferences of bad faith on her part,
Masule was required to present exceptional circumstances that would restrain the exercise of powers granted to her by the Public Service Act.
But the PM said, even before the court can decide on the merits of the case, the matter must be removed as it is in the wrong court.
This, she said, is a labour dispute and should be adjudicated in the Labour Court which is the specialist court for such matters.
While there is an element of a constitutional dimension present, it does not oust the exclusive jurisdiction of the Labour Court. Furthermore, she said, the matter must fail because of a lack of urgency. According to her, one of the main requirements for urgency is that an applicant must explicitly set out the reasons why he or she cannot get redress in due course which the applicant miserably failed to do.
According to her, she first heard about the appointment of Masule after he had already been appointed and she received a written complaint from a certain Ananias Iyambo about irregularities in the recruitment process.
She said she immediately followed up with the relevant stakeholders and sought legal advice on the matter.
In the court papers filed she said she approached the Public Service Commission (PSC) to reconsider their recommendation of Masule, but they refused since the recommendation had already been relayed to Masule.
She was further advised by the Secretary to Cabinet to approach the President who has the powers to reject or verify the recommendation of the PSC, but she decided to set aside the promotion instead.
In a supplementary affidavit to that of the prime minister, the head of the ACC Paulus Noa stated he was aware of the irregularities in the recruitment process.
According to him, he was informed that some of the applicants submitted incomplete or wrong documents with their application, but that it was “agreed” that this may be rectified during the vetting process for the shortlisted candidates. One of those that submitted incomplete documents was Iyambo who initially scored highest during the interviews.
However, he said, the PSC felt that Masule who scored insignificantly less than Iyambo was the preferred candidate because of his long-standing history with the ACC.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila further denied she acted unfairly and abruptly. “I deny that there was anything obviously flawed in what I have done so far. I acted with the assistance of technical and legal advice. I accept that this court may find that I acted incorrectly, however, from the applicant’s own papers it is clear that the issues are complex,” she said, adding she acted honestly throughout.
The matter will be heard today before Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Eileen Rakow and Masule will be represented by Shakwa Nyambe and the ACC and Kuugongelwa-Amadhila by Mkhululi Khupe from the Office of the Government Attorney.
2020-09-03 09:10:58 | 23 days ago