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Mswati delays appointment of Judicial Service Commission(JSC) amid secret moves to remove Chief Justice,Spokesperson Percy Simelane not sure when King will make announcement.

Sunday, 23rd June, 2024

MBABANE:King Mswati has delayed the appointment of the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) amid alleged secret moves to remove Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala.

The uncertain future of Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala as head of the Judiciary,is being discussed at the highest level,Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Prince Simelane is alleged to be seized with the matter after holding a series of meetings with the Executive Commitee of the Law Society of Eswatini (LSS).

Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala has been accused of fraud and corruption,including taking bribes to influence judgements,his widely reported alleged corrupt conduct is believed to be thretening investor confidence as giant companies are allegedly complaining that,they are now competing with bribes within the courts instead of fair justice.

The Law Society is alleged to have presented their case to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister who promised to report the matter to the King for appropriate guidance.

It is alleged that,the Chief Justice was given an option to resign allegedly by the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister,the King is alleged to be waiting for a report from the Minister in-charge of the Judiciary before taking a decision whether to remove Bheki Maphalala or not.

But a high profile source within the Civil Service Commission (CSC) confirmed that,a process to remove Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala was underway but declined to share further details,saying the matter remains a top secret and known by a few high profile people.

“We are actually busy with that matter,”said the source within the CSC.

The Civil Service Commission(CSC) high profile source cited allegations of misconduct against the Chief Justice that were documented in a file. 

It is alleged that,lawyers are complaining that,the Judiciary has collapsed amid rampant corruption and/or a breakdown in the administration of Justice under the leadership of Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala.

Justice Minister Prince Simelane was evasive when asked about the matter;he neither confirmed nor denied that there was a process to remove the Chief Justice.

It is alleged that,the delay in announcing the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) was triggered by the alleged ongoing process to remove the CJ and as per the provisions of the Constitution,a new Chief Justice is highly expected to take over as the Chairperson of the JSC.

Responding to this Swaziland News on Sunday, King’s Spokesperson Percy Simelane said announcing the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) “is a process,”adding that,he was not sure when the announcement would be made.

“Our experience is that there is no calendar date for the appointments in question and that to pool such a team is a process and not an occasion.It would,therefore,be difficult to figure out when the announcement will be made.We believe stakeholders too,would rather have it done right for many weeks than rushed to meet a deadline half-heatedly”, said the King’s Spokesperson.

Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala declined to comment about the matter.

Reached for comments on Sunday evening, Charity Simelane,the Secretary General of the Law Society of Eswatini (LSS),confirmed that,they held a meeting with the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister to discuss allegations of misconduct against the Chief Justice.

“We can confirm that,as the Law Society,we held a meeting with the Justice Minister to discuss the allegations of misconduct against the Chief Justice”,said the Law Society of Eswatini(LSS) Secretary General.

Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo declined to comment about the matter.

It is alleged that,a few days ago, Attorney General (AG) Sifiso Khumalo sent a lawyer from his office identified as Nokwanda,to collect some documents from the Chief Justice. 

Upon arrival,the lawyer allegedly told employees of the High Court that,she wanted to see the Chief Justice to collect some sensitive documents.

But due to the sensitivity of the matter,Nokwanda who “is trusted by the AG,” was allegedly recalled from home as she was on leave specifically to collect the documents.

As a result,she allegedly arrived wearing pants and was offered lihiya in order to be presentable before gaining entry into the Office of Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala.

“We thought these were warrants of arrest for high profile people but now that you mentioning this,it makes sense,maybe those documents were part of the correspondence with the Chief Justice”,said one employee of the High Court when responding to this journalist during the course of verifying this matter on Sunday.

But it remains unclear if those documents were part of the correspondence with the CJ amid moves to remove him,the matter remains a top secret within the corridors of power.

Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala stands accused of fraud and corruption in that,he allegedly accepts bribes to influence judgements.

The CJ was also exposed by this Swaziland News for allegedly defrauding Government over R1million in housing allowances,he then offered to pay back the money defrauded from the State,in installments.

Mswati delays appointment of Judicial Service Commission(JSC) amid secret moves to remove Chief Justice,Spokesperson Percy Simelane not sure when King will make announcement.
King Mswati.