Former ministers continue challenging ConCourt’s order to pay back salaries

Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Mwila has asked the Constitutional Court to set aside its judgement which ordered former ministers to pay back salaries and other emoluments which they obtained during their illegal stay in office saying it is unjust and oppressive.

In an affidavit filed in support of a notice of motion to set aside and reverse parts of the ConCourt’s judgement on March 28, Mwila, who is a former minister of home affairs, stated that the ConCourt’s order would make former ministers suffer injustice.

“It is my and the rest of the named Respondent’s respectful desire to have the judgement of this honorable court, to the extent mentioned in paragraph 5 hereof, set aside or reversed on grounds set forth in the notice of motion filed herewith, ” Mwila stated.

He stated that the former ministers’ lawyer, Bonaventure Mutale, had advised him that only the ConCourt could provide relief from the “injustice” caused by its order.

Mwila insisted that the state benefitted from the services rendered by the former ministers during the time they remained in office after the resolution of parliament.

“This application is not aimed at undermining the authority of this honorable court but to afford myself and the other named respondents an opportunity of obtaining a remedy for the injustice suffered through no fault of our own,” stated Mwila.

Since the ConCourt ordered former ministers to pay back the salaries they drew after illegally staying in office, there has been resistance from government and the individual ministers to pay back.

ConCourt judges had ruled that it was wrong for President Edgar Lungu to maintain the ministers in office; ordering them to vacate with immediate effect and pay pack their salaries to the Treasury; a decision which excited Zambians.

But Attorney General Likando Kalaluka filed a petition in the ConCourt in October last year asking it to reopen the case and review the judgement saying it was an injustice akin to slavery to order former ministers to repay salaries and allowances after they worked and earned the money.

“It is in this regard that we maintain that to order that the former ministers pay back the salaries and allowances received after dissolution of Parliament is an injustice especially considering that they were directed to remain in office on the basis of ambiguous and obscure provisions,” stated Kalaluka.

But LAZ asked the ConCourt to throw out Kalaluka’s petition saying he had no right to represent former ministers who were in office illegally.

LAZ said Kalaluka was supposed to represent the interests of the public and not those of former ministers whom the court had ruled against.

And reading the unanimous ruling of ConCourt judges on November 17, judge Margaret Munalula said Kalaluka had no locus standi to challenge their decision.

She said Kalaluka could not appoint himself lawyer for the former ministers and ruled that the court’s judgment of August 8, 2016 was still binding.

         

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