CSAWUZ says it is illogical for government to throw out civil servants with fake grade 12 results, but have acquired genuine degrees and worked for over 15 years in the civil service.
Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Davy Chiyobe, said in an interview with News Diggers! that civil servants who may have served for more than 15-20 years with fake results could not be prosecuted because of the life span of the offence.
On Friday, Vice-President Inonge Wina told Parliament that government would roll out the scrutiny exercise of fake certifications amongst all civil servants to all public service institutions in order to bring sanity in the system.
“Mr Speaker, forging of certificates is really undermining the development of the country because the people who use forged certificates may not really qualify to do the work they are given and this is a danger to both the security of the country as well as its development. So this is why government has introduced quality assurance in the civil service so that we detect this anomaly and deal with it. So this [scrutiny] will go in all the government ministries and departments to ensure that those that are recruited in the government or public service have got the relevant qualifications that are commensurate to the work that they are given,” said Vice-President Wina.
But Chiyobe said government needed to carry out a research into what the law provides regarding the dismissal of civil servants who have served a certain period in the civil service.
“This situation is not new. It happened three, five years ago and a lot of civil servants like nurses, clinical officers and other professionals lost employment due to the forged grade 12 results. To some extent you will find that these people have had higher qualifications, some of them up to a degree level. But we just need to do a critical analysis and do a research on what the law provides especially on criminal offences. But for civil offences, some of them may have what we call statutory barred, in the sense that if a certain period of time has elapsed and no action has been taken, that case fails in the court of law. Some of the civil cases have a period where they still have life. If you don’t litigate within that period then the law stops you from initiating that case in court, which means its statutory barred,” he said.
“If a criminal offence has not been prosecuted for some time, you can not begin a prosecution over it. That is why we need to do a research and find out the provisions of some of the criminal offences and be able to state whether due to lack of time they can still stand. But otherwise you may find that some of the members who are affected may have served for 20 or 15 years using the same fake results. Where was government all this time to raise up those issues? So when we do that maybe government itself will need to review whether to take action on these people or the issues would have been statutory barred as the law says you can not prosecute because of the life span of that offence.”
Chiyobe further said that the matter of forged certificates would not be underrated even though the people involved would be sent into disrepute as they depended on their jobs for their livelihood.
“Some of these qualifications are manufactured in Matero and are quite similar to the originals from ECZ, and people normally accept them without any query because of the resemblance. But for sure people will be affected. So many people are involved. Really this is when people should sit and think that which direction should we go,” said Chiyobe.
“Most of these people who have been affected have higher qualifications up to degree level and those degrees and higher qualifications are authentic and real because they would have come from the university. Most of these are family men and family women who depend on their jobs for their livelihood so definitely it will send them into disrepute. But we are not saying we are underrating the offence.”