The court ruling is very clear that former ministers who stayed in office after dissolution of parliament must pay, says Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga.
And Mulenga says if Chishimba Kambwili did not want to remain in office, he should have disagreed with President Edgar Lungu.
On Saturday, Kambwili told News Diggers! in an interview that ministers did not choose to remain in office after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016, but were ordered to do so by President Edgar Lungu.
Mulenga’s predecessor said the President used his presidential powers to instruct ministers to break the law and as such he should be the one to pay back all the salaries and allowances they accrued during the illegal stay in office.
“We respect the decision of the court, who are we to refuse the judgement of the court? But the only thing that Zambians must know is that ministers did not remain in office by their own accord. They were instructed by the Head of State. So the person who must pay the monies that ministers got, is President Edgar Lungu. Because he was boasting, I know the law you ministers have to be in office,” said Kambwili.
“I didn’t, as Chishimba Kambwili, says I will remain in office. There was a press conference which was addressed by the President and the whole world heard when he directed us to remain in office. So the President must be the one to pay back the money, but we respect the decision of the court.”
But in an interview today, Mulenga said the ConCourt’s ruling was very clear that “all former ministers must pay back” to the Treasury.
“The judgment is very clear and it is not up to me to interpret the judgment, the judgment has been made by the ConCourt that former ministers should pay back the money,” Kampamba said.
“As government, we respect the Judiciary and we respect the judgment, we respect the rule of the land and we cannot go against the ruling of the ConCourt. The judgment is in public domain for everyone to interpret. That is the ruling of the ConCourt and I think it should end there because it is not even amenable to appeal whether somebody had a divergent view, it cannot be appealed because that is the highest [court].”
And Mulenga said Kambwili shouldn’t have withdrawn the salaries he received if he felt it was wrong to stay in office.
“You know, I don’t think it is just in order that we should be answering back to Honourable Kambwili all the time. Government has got things to do and you know the court has made a ruling and I don’t think His Excellency the President of this Republic can force an adult to do things that are not at his will, an adult cannot be forced. I think earlier on somebody asked me over the same question [but] surely we know that when we are getting our pay and when we are drawing our monies from our pay it is not the President that draws on behalf of an individual, a minister or a member of parliament of a particular party but it is the individuals themselves,” said Mulenga.
“So if at all in his right, Honourable Kambwili felt that those things were wrong, he should not have gone ahead and drawn the money but then again we as government say we respect the Judiciary and the ruling has been made.”