CHAIRPERSON of the Engineering Registration Board, Desiderius Chapewa has dragged the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) to the Lusaka High Court, seeking a declaration that the Council of the institution has no authority to revoke his membership and practicing licence.
Chapewa is also seeking damages for loss caused to his professional reputation, and an order of injunction restraining EIZ, its servants or agents from interfering with his enjoyment of membership and all rights of membership of the EIZ, Engineering Registration Board and the Council of EIZ until final determination of the matter or further order of the court.
He also wants interest, costs, and any other relief the Court may deem fit.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, Chapewa stated that on September 12, 2020, he was elected to the Engineering Registration Board by the members of the EIZ.
He added that he was subsequently elected Chairperson by his fellow Board members.
Chapewa stated that the election included a rigorous vetting process by EIZ’s Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC), which considered the academic and other qualifications of nominated candidates.
He further stated that EIZ’s Nominations and Elections Committee considered his nomination and concluded that he was qualified to serve on the Engineering Registration Board.
Chapewa added that his nomination was thus progressed and notified to the members of the Engineering Institution of Zambia as being a valid nomination, qualifying him to take part in the elections.
He, however, stated that sometime in September 2020, EIZ wrote to him inquiring about his postgraduate qualifications.
“It is the plaintiff’s belief that the defendant wrote to him in that manner with a view to disqualify him from serving as Chairperson of the Engineering Registration Board,” read the claim.
Chapewa stated that by letter dated October 5, 2020, he responded, advising EIZ that his qualifications remained as submitted to the said institution during the electoral process aforesaid, namely, a bachelor’s degree.
He, however, stated that notwithstanding his response, EIZ proceeded to accuse him of having misled the institution with respect to his qualifications.
“The plaintiff will aver that at no time has he submitted any other qualifications to those formally submitted to the defendant. The plaintiff will aver that the defendant further convened a Council meeting which discussed his qualifications. Following that meeting, the plaintiff was given an ultimatum to either step down or suffer suspension for a period of up to six months,” read the claim further.
Chapewa stated that EIZ, by letter dated October 15, 2020, had proceeded to purportedly revoke his Practicing Licence.
He stated that EIZ had done so unilaterally without preferring him with an appropriate charge and/or affording an appropriate hearing to enable him defend himself.
Chapewa stated that EIZ’s unlawful actions aforesaid constituted harassment, discrimination, and interference with his rights of membership of the Engineering Institution of Zambia and Engineering Registration Board and had caused loss and damage to him.