Bosasa scandal: Magistrate Desmond Nair provisionally suspended - Ronald Lamola
Durban - Pretoria's chief magistrate Desmond Nair had been suspended with immediate effect pending an investigation into his fitness to hold office, Justice and Correctional Services minister Ronald Lamola said on Wednesday.
Nair was charged with two counts of misconduct in November last year following a preliminary investigation by the ministry.
"The misconduct charges relate to allegations that Mr Nair allegedly asked for, or accepted/received special favours or benefits from Bosasa which may unduly influence him in the execution of his judicial duties or which may create the impression or perception as being intended to influence him in the performance of such duties," said the justice department via an emailed statement.
A magistrate could be provisionally suspended from office by the minister if the magistrate's commission was satisfied "that reliable evidence exists indicating that an allegation against that magistrate is of such a serious nature as to make it inappropriate for the magistrate to perform the functions of a magistrate whilst the allegation is being investigated and if an investigation has been instituted by the commission into the magistrate’s fitness to hold office," said the department.
A report setting out the reasons for the suspension would have to be tabled in parliament by the minister within seven days of the suspension.
“Judicial officers must be held to the highest standards of scrutiny and their conduct must at all times be beyond reproach and be conduct befitting their office," said Lamola.
"Given the seriousness of the allegations, as well as the importance of the image of our judicial officers, our courts and the rule of law, I have decided to provisionally suspend Mr Nair with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Parliament would have to pass a resolution as to whether or not the provisional suspension was confirmed, said Lamola's office.
Former Bosasa employee Richard Le Roux last year told the commission of inquiry into state capture that Nair had accepted the installation of an electric fence, alarms and CCTV cameras at his Pretoria home. The items were allegedly worth R200 000.
African News Agency (ANA)