New judges for Supreme Court
MBABANE – His Majesty King Mswati III has appointed Uganda Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki and retired South African Judge Philip Levisohn into the Supreme Court bench.
This brings the number of Supreme Court judges in the country to eight, the first of its kind in the history of the bench. The appointments, according to highly-placed sources, were endorsed by the Head of State last week and are yet to be gazetted. Levinsohn, a retired judge from South Africa, is already an acting Judge of the Swaziland High Court. He was appointed in 2010 to preside over fraud and corruption cases. Matters currently pending before him are that of Channel Swazi boss Qhawe Mamba who is alleged to have defrauded members of the public over E17 million through a scheme said to be a pyramid. The case is awaiting judgment on July 11, 2012.
He is also expected to preside over the E11 million fraud and corruption case involving former Central Transport Administration (CTA) employee Mpumelelo Mamba, suspended Industrial Court President Judge Sifiso Nsibande and Protronics Networking Director Sandile Dlamini.
The trial will resume on January 28, 2013. Odoki and Judge Levisohn in the Supreme Court of Swaziland join six judges namely, Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi from Lesotho, Judges Ahmed Ebrahim from Zimbabwe, Stanley Moore from Guyana, Dr Seth Twum from Zambia, Bheki Maphalala from Swaziland and the Gambia Chief Justice Emmanuel Agim.
The Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Lorraine Hlophe, in an interview confirmed the appointments.
She said the judges would be complementing the bench. She dispelled fears that they were replacing judges who had resigned.
Asked when Odoki and Levinsohn would be sworn in, Hlophe said anytime and they would be available when needed since the Supreme Court sits on sessions, not full time.
"I do not know what prompted the authorities to increase the number. I just write what they tell me," Hlophe said.
The secretary of the Law Society of Swaziland, Simanga Mamba, congratulated the two judges for their appointments. He wished them luck in the execution of their duties.
He said Judge Levinsohn was a senior judge as he had many cases now being referred to in many courts, some of which he presided over in 1968. He said he hoped Chief Justice Odoki was senior too, judging from his position in Uganda.
"We are grateful to His Majesty King Mswati III for the appointments. These are signs of improving the Judiciary of Swaziland. If there are more members in the bench, it will make it possible to have urgent appeals to be heard," Mamba said.
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