A dismissed senior police officer has sued Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja in the Lusaka High Court, seeking an order to be reinstated back to work immediately and be entitled to all monetary benefits.
Silvester Shipolo, who has also sued the Attorney General as second defendant, further wants an order that the decision to dismiss him without constituting a hearing was unfair, wrongful, illegal and, therefore, null and void.
He further wants an order that the said dismissal was in breach of the very law relied upon in dismissing him being the public service regulation, among other claims.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Tuesday, Shipolo stated that he was at all material times, a police officer employed under the Zambia Police Service for a continuous period of 20 years as at February 12, 2016, stationed at Lusaka.
He added that he was an assistant Superintendent in middle management up until 2012 when he was promoted and appointed to a full Superintendent as National Coordinator for Community Safety Unit upon acquiring a Master’s degree in Gender Studies.
Shipolo stated that he had initially applied for self-sponsored study leave for a period of two years in which to pursue a Master’s degree in Gender Studies at the University of Zambia in 2010 and completed in 2012.
He added that he undertook the studies while attending to both work and school on permission granted by the then immediate superior, the second officer commanding Lusaka Urban, a Mrs Simulunda.
Shipolo further stated that upon completing his Master’s programme, he was granted an opportunity to proceed to a higher level and pursue a PhD in the same programme being Gender Studies.
He stated that he then applied for an extension of the leave application to extend the initial two years leave earlier granted in 2012 for an additional three more year period for pursuing PhD studies.
“The plaintiff continued with the PhD the following year being 2013, while doing both work and studies after permission was granted by the then immediate supervisor Mr Shanamponta,” the statement of claim read.
Shipolo claimed that he suddenly witnessed a change in the manner his issue was treated upon change of command in 2016 from the-then Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani to Kanganja.
He further claimed that he was suddenly slapped with frivolous and vexatious charges of being absent without leave and requested to exculpate himself, claiming absence for more than two years.
Shipolo stated that he proceeded to write to the supervisor, Kanganja, a self-explanatory exculpatory letter disputing both the absent without leave allegation as well as having not being granted an approved study leave for the stated period.
He stated that he was surprisingly served with a dismissal letter by Kanganja in September, 2016, citing the public service conditions without instituting a hearing at all.
Shipolo accused Kanganja of hastily writing the dismissal letter.
He added that Kanganja did not constitute any administrative disciplinary hearing before invoking the Public Service Regulations, contrary to the basic rule of natural course of justice that requires for the other side to be heard, rendering the dismissal illegal, unfair and wrongful.
Shipolo lamented that as a result, he had suffered mental torture, anguish, embarrassment and insurmountable loss and damage for loss of salary as his source of income was blocked and has remained so up to now.
He now wants an order to be reinstated back to work forthwith and be entitled to all monetary benefits, restoration or unblocking of the salary and damages for unfair, wrongful and illegal dismissal.
Shipolo is also seeking damages for mental torment, anguish, embarrassment and shock, among other claims.