A former serviceman under the Zambia National Service (ZNS) has dragged his former employer to court seeking an order that he was wrongly discharged from the service without following proper procedure.
Isaac Zulu, who has also sued the Attorney General, is further seeking for an order that ZNS pays him his salary arrears from January, 2017, to April, 2018, when he was acquitted after being charged with the offence of attempted smuggling.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, January 8, Zulu stated that he joined ZNS on December 5, 1995 to train as a military serviceman.
He lamented that the dismissal caused him suffering, as he had no income or salary, despite having served in the military service for more than 20 years.
He stated that in December, 2016, he was deployed on a military operation mission in Chililabombwe, and it was during that tour of duty that he was accused of committing a civil offence of attempted smuggling.
Zulu stated that he appeared before the Chililabombwe Magistrates’ Court where he was tried of the said offence but was acquitted on April 27, last year and no appeal had so far been made against him.
He stated that ZNS, without lawful authority, removed him from payroll in January, 2017, simply because of the alleged offence they assumed he had committed before he was formally charged by the police.
“Between January, 2017, and April 27, 2018, when the plaintiff was acquitted, he received no salary, contrary to the normal military procedure. The plaintiff after his acquittal endeavoured to have his salary arrears paid to him, but ZNS refused to honour the request,” the statement of claim read in part.
Zulu stated that ZNS should have ordinarily first given him a letter informing him that he was on half salary or removed from payroll, giving reasons for such action, but this was not done.
He stated that ZNS, without following the laid down military procedure, wrongly discharged him from employment in August, 2017, for no apparent reason.
Zulu stated that when he enquired why he had been discharged, he was informed that it was due to his absenteeism, yet ZNS at all times knew of his whereabouts as it was the same institution that took him to the police.
He added that when he reported earlier at ZNS Headquarters in Lusaka, he was informed that they had nothing to do with him until after his case was disposed off in court, only to later discharge him on grounds that he was absent from duty.
Zulu claimed that at no time was he absent without official leave because he continued communicating with ZNS officers.
Zulu stated that the wrongful discharge had also caused him mental torture and discomfort as up to-date, he had not yet received his terminal benefits, which he actually had qualified for.
He is now claiming for an order that ZNS pays him his salary arrears from January, 2017, to April, 2018, when he was acquitted, an order declaring that he was wrongly discharged as proper procedure was not done and a declaration that since he had served for more than 20 years before his discharge, he was entitled to the usual retirement pension benefit lump-sum payment.
Zulu is further claiming for payment of monthly salaries of a retiree from date of retirement to the date of his lump-sum pension benefit, payment of leave benefits and repatriation allowance, damages for wrongful discharge, damages for loss of income and costs.