Disgruntled Anti-Corruption Commission investigator Phelem Masule is fighting back against his unceremonious removal as chief of investigations and prosecutions at the anti-graft agency.
Masule was removed from the position barely days after he was confirmed into the new role.
He was promoted to the position on recommendation of the Public Service Commission after applying for that vacancy. However, shortly after he occupied his new position, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila removed him, citing irregularities.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, the PSC admitted that the recruitment process was flawed and that the highest-scoring candidate was not recommended because he had submitted incomplete forms in his application.
Masule allegedly came second during the interviews and was given the nod due to his experience. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had ordered for the recruitment to start afresh.
Masule has now approached the High Court to have the decision of Kuugongelwa-Amadhila reversed. He lodged a two-fold application. Firstly, he wants an order on an urgent basis interdicting the prime minister from implementing her decision of setting aside his promotion and secondly, a review of the decision in due time. In the meantime, he is asking the High Court for an order reinstating him in the position of chief of investigations and prosecutions at the ACC, pending the outcome of the review proceedings. According to the founding affidavit of Masule, he relied on Article 18 of the Constitution, which places an obligation on the prime minister to act fairly and reasonably when exercising any statutory power conferred on her. He further said that the prime minister acted outside the scope of her powers when she unilaterally stripped him of his promotion when the Public Service Commission Act only allows her to implement a decision of the commission and only the President can veto such recommendation. He went on to say that under the terms of Article 18, he has the right to a fair and reasonable process and decision; the right to fair reasons for her decision and if any documentary evidence are present, the right to be provided with a copy of such document. Masule is further of the opinion that he has the right to expect that if the prime minister has various options in the exercise of her statutory powers that she will opt for fairness and reasonableness in the circumstances and will not violate the provisions of several articles of the Constitution. He further said there is also an urgent need to protect and enforce his right to dignity, his right to be equal before the law and his right to administrative justice on the basis that the decision of the prime minister was final in nature and that decision abruptly stripped away his promotion. “From the time her decision was made, I continue to be deprived of my promotion, I continue to suffer the prejudice of her violation of my fundamental rights,” he said. While he links the President, the ACC, the Public Service Commission, the ACC director general and several other parties to the lawsuit, Masule said the fight is primarily with the prime minister as she is the one that robbed him of his hard-earned promotion. None of the parties have so far indicated whether they will oppose the application.
Masule is represented by Shakwa Nyambe.