THE Constitutional Court has ruled that the 63 former cabinet ministers and their deputies who received emoluments after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 should pay back over K54,000 each to the State within 30 days.
Constitutional Court registrar Dorcas Malama said in a ruling yesterday, Monday, that the assessed amounts ranging from K54,889 to K61,756 individually, but altogether amounting to over K3.7 million, should be paid within 30 days from the date of the ruling.
In this matter, the State through the Attorney General’s chambers had asked the Constitutional Court to assess the amount of money that Ministers who continued to earn a salary after dissolution of Parliament in 2016 were required to pay back.
This was as a result of the Constitutional Court judgment of August 8, 2016 which ordered Cabinet, Provincial and deputy ministers to pay back to the State all the allowances and salaries they received while the National Assembly was dissolved.
The judgement was rendered in a matter where the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and UPND through its secretary general Steven Katuka, challenged the continued stay in office of the ministers after Parliament was dissolved ahead of the 2016 general elections.
Katuka and LAZ petitioned the court to order the ministers who stayed in office after dissolution of Parliament to pay back the monies they received.
They cited the Attorney General, Ngosa Simbyakula and 63 others as respondents.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba had earlier submitted to the Constitutional Court that the correct amount of repatriation allowances former Cabinet Ministers and their deputies who received emoluments after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016, were entitled to was K8,000 each and not the K15,000 they were claiming.
Yamba added that his office had therefore re-calculated the summary for net pays and allowances to be recovered from the ministers taking into account the K8,000, which brings the total amount recoverable from them for the period May to July, 2016, to K4,266,664.10.
But in a ruling on assessment of salaries and allowances to be refunded to the State by the 63 respondents, the registrar ordered that the assessed amounts ranging from K54,889 and K61,756, individually, should be paid within 30 days from date of the ruling (yesterday).
Malama observed that the State’s initial computation and re-computation of salaries and allowances to be recovered from the 63 included the names of Raymond Mpundu.
She however, added that the perusal of the record had revealed that the said Mpundu was not a party to the main proceedings before the Constitutional Court which culminated into the judgement of August 8, 2016.
“According to the record, the first respondent was the Attorney General while the second to 64th respondents were former Ministers specifically listed by their respective names and these are 63 in total,” Malama said.
She said that she had consequently restricted her assememt of the salaries and allowances to be refunded to the 63 respondent on records.
“All in all, having considered the salaries and allowances which were paid by the State to the 63 respondents in May, July and July 2016; having accepted the first respondent’s (Attorney General) re-computation of salaries and allowances to be recovered from the 63 respondents that took into account the repatriation allowances owed to each one of the 63 respondents by the State; and having deducted from the re-computed totals 11 days’ worth of the salaries and allowances earned by each one of these respondents in the month of May 2016, I have assessed the respective amounts of salaries and allowances that the 63 respondents shall each refund to the State as tabulated below (in the table),” the registrar said.
“The assessed amounts shall be paid within 30 days from date of this ruling. Each party shall bear own costs.”