Lesotho: Eyob Belay Asemie v P.S. Ministry of Home Affairs and Others

Published: 13/Feb/2013
Source: Lesotho High Court

(CIV/APN/519/12) [2013] LSHC 19 (13 February 2013)


Application to interdict respondent from denying applicant use of regular passport and to review and set aside the declaration of the passport as null and void to be irregular, unconstitutional and unlawful – whether applicant was entitled to a hearing before the decision was made – whether applicant established he has a right to the passport – whether respondents were correct to deny applicant re-entry into Lesotho – issuance of passport to applicant illegal and cannot be sanctioned – applicant not entitled to the audi alteram partem before the decision was taken – respondents’ decision to deny applicant re-entry unlawful.

[1] The applicant moved this Court to grant him an order on an urgent basis for restraint and interdict against the 1st to 3rd respondents as well as immigration officers at all ports of entry into Lesotho from denying him use of the regular passport NO. RA 929199 for travel into and out of Lesotho and to review and set aside as irregular, unconstitutional and unlawful, the decision that declared the said passport null and void as well as costs.

[2] Facts that are common cause are that the applicant is the bearer of a Lesotho passport NO. RA 9292199 that was issued on the 21st July 2010 and expires on the 20th June 2020. On the 19th October 2012, the 3rd respondent herein (the Minister) wrote a letter annexure RK 5 to the applicant in terms of which she ordered him to surrender the passport, the subject matter of this application with immediate effect.

[3] it is also common cause that the said letter was written post the handing down of a Court of Appeal judgment, Annexure RK 4 which set aside an order of the High Court that had declared the applicant a naturalized Mosotho and had directed the Minister to swear in the applicant or cause him to be sworn in as such within fourteen (14) days of that order.

[4] It is not clear from the papers when the applicant received the letter RK 5 but it is common cause that on the 21st October 2012, he travelled to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and was granted a visa to be thereat until the 13th November, 2012. On the 26th October 2012, the 1st respondent issued a memo, NV2 to all immigration officers at all Ports of entry into Lesotho in terms of which the passport in question was declared null and void.

[5] On the 2nd November, the applicant attempted to cross back into Lesotho at the Caledonspoort port of entry but his passport was rejected by the RSA immigration officers on the strength of NV 2. After he demanded and was shown the memo the applicant re-routed to the Maseru Port of entry where he was again denied entry.

[6] It is also an undisputed fact that the RSA Immigration Officials requested a person from the Lesotho side and one gentleman came and confirmed in the presence of the applicant that the passport in question had been nullified.

Read at LesothoLII: https://lesotholii.org/ls/judgment/high-court/2013/19/

Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage, ID Documents and Passports, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: Lesotho
Year: 2013