Former Health Professions Council of Zambia Registrar Dr Aaron Mujajati has sued the council in the Lusaka High Court demanding an order that his termination of employment was unlawful, null and void.
Dr Mujajati is also seeking to be paid his full benefits in the sum of K2,690,458.56, salaries for the remainder of his term of office amounting to K801,219.35 and damages for wrongful dismissal.
In a statement of claim filed on May 8, Dr Mujajati stated that when he successfully applied to be HPCZ registrar, he was given a three-year contract which would run from October 1, 2017 to October 1, 2020.
He stated that at the time, he was an employee of the Civil Service Commission under the Ministry of Health as a consultant at the University Teaching Hospital.
He stated that after being offered employment by HPCZ, he applied to the Civil Service Commission, through the Ministry of Health, for secondment, so he could take up his new job despite having an option to resign.
“The Plaintiff was given a secondment for the period of three years to run concurrently with the contract he signed with the Defendant. The secondment granted to the Plaintiff by the Civil Service Commission was not conditional precedent to employment by the Defendant,” read the statement of claim.
Dr Mujajati averred that he was answerable to the HPCZ board and he was therefore shocked when on January 16, 2019, he heard on the news and on social media an announcement by Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya that his employment with HPCZ had been terminated and the Civil Service Commission was redeploying him to Ndola Teaching Hospital to work as a consultant.
“There was no communication from the Board of the Defendant until later in the evening that day when he received a minute from the Ministry of Health purporting that his secondment to the Health Professions the Health Professions Council of Zambia as Registrar was terminated with immediate effect by the Civil Service Commission,” read the claim.
He lamented that at no time did the HPCZ Board sit to complain about his performance but on March 25, the HPCZ chairperson directed him to stay away from the office with immediate effect.
Dr Mujatati stated that on April 8, HPCZ purported that the his employment was terminated through frustration by the Public Service Commission’s recalling him from secondment where there was no such provision for “recalling of secondment”.
He lamented that his employment was terminated without giving him the requisite three months notice and that he was only paid K237,613.88 as gratuity when he was entitled to his cull gratuity of K2,690,458.56, given the circumstances under which he was dismissed.
Dr Mujajati is therefore seeking damages for breach of contract or an order reinstating him as HPCZ Registrar.
He also wants an order for payment of his full benefits, payment for his salaries for the rest of his term and an order to allow him to purchase, at net book value, the personal to holder motor vehicle he was driving, among other claims.