An ex-employee of the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) has has dragged the Scheme to the Constitutional Court over salary arrears.
Kabisa Elizabeth Ngwira is seeking an order that she was entitled to remain on the payroll until benefits were paid in full and an order that NAPSA pays her salary arrears from January 1 to December 12, 2018.
She also wants an interpretation of Articles 187 and 189 of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No.2 of 2016 in relation to allowances and leave days for the period during which one is retained on the payroll pending full and final payment of pension benefits.
Ngwira further wants damages for loss of funds being pension benefits that would have accrued to her had she been retained on the payroll as required by law, costs and other reliefs.
In an affidavit in support of originating summons filed in the Constitutional Court, October 31, Ngwira stated that she was employed by NAPSA as a Legal Manager Contracts, on a two year contract on February 19, 2015.
She stated that her contract was terminated on June 30, 2016 following a restructuring in the organisation and was paid gratuity for the period served.
Ngwira stated that on July 1, 2016, she was subsequently re-employed on a permanent and pensionable basis, a condition precedent of which was that she became a member of the NAPSA staff pension scheme.
She added that she was expected to contribute 10 percent of her monthly salary to the scheme whereas her employer was expected to contribute 11.75 percent of her monthly salary.
“The benefits under the said scheme consist of the employee and the employer’s contributions as well as interest on the same which interest is payable per year and calculated based on the scheme’s investment performance in relation to a particular year,” Ngwira stated.
She stated that on November 30, 2017, she tendered her resignation giving the requisite one month’s notice which translated to her last day of employment being on December 31, 2017.
Ngwira further stated on January 23, 2018, she was paid the principal amount due to her under the scheme, however the interest on the same was not paid, adding that NAPSA gave no indication of why it was not paid let alone when it would be paid to her.
She stated that in November 2018, she received an email from the Scheme requesting her account details to facilitate the transfer of the interest on her pension benefits.
Ngwira stated that the interest due was remitted to her account the following month, December 2018, upon her account details being furnished.
She stated that on August 16, this year, she made a claim for the salary arrears and attendant benefits and interest to be paid to her for the beginning of January 1, 2018 to December 2018 when the balance on her pension benefits was outstanding, but the claim was denied.
Ngwira stated that she engaged the services of Messrs J and M Advocates who wrote to NAPSA on her behalf demanding payment of her salary arrears but to date no response had been afforded to that letter.
“The failure to pay the funds due to me promptly is in contravention of the Constitution, particularly Article 189, which entitles me to have been treated as still being on the payroll despite my not being in employment until full and final payment of the same,” she stated.
“I am advised by my advocates and verily believe the same to be true that the requirement for me to be retained on the payroll until full and final payment of the pension benefits due to me sees me entitled not only to salary arrears due to me but also monthly talk time due for that period as well as payment for leave days under the period as well.”
She stated that having resigned entitled her to have been paid her pension benefits promptly and in full and in the absence of the same, she should have been retained on the payroll until full and final payment as required by law.