CONSTITUTIONAL Lawyer John Sangwa SC says when the 30 days elapses, bailiffs will be sent to grab assets from ex-ministers who will not have paid back the salaries which they received after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016.
On Monday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the 63 former cabinet ministers and deputies who received emoluments after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 should pay back over K54,000 each to the State within 30 days.
Speaking to journalists in Lusaka, Tuesday, Justice Minister Given Lubinda lamented that 30 days was too little to offset the debt because what he owed was far beyond his monthly earning.
He said he was considering asking the ConCourt to allow him more time to pay back the K56,226.92 because his family could starve if he was forced to clear it within a month.
But in an interview, Sangwa said Lubinda was not being sincere as he had the means to pay back the money.
“It doesn’t matter [if he will starve], there are a lot of Zambians who are starving. In any case he is not being sincere, he has the means to pay. That is money that should have gone to the coffers,” he said.
“We reminded them in 2016, we told them that guys, when National Assembly is dissolved, vacate offices, but they refused. The great lawyer, Lungu, told them that ‘no, you can continue’. That is why I sued them in their individual capacity. I did not sue them as government, I simply said as individuals you must know what the law says. What has happened now? The court has declared that they were in the office illegally. So for now we are waiting. Let’s see what is going to happen. At the end of the day, that money has to be paid, if the President wants he can pay for all of them. If the [Patriotic Front] party wants, it can pay for them, what is important is that the money has to be paid and it has to be paid within 30 days,” Sangwa said.
He said after the 30 days elapses, they would begin sending bailiffs to all ministers who would not pay, to grab their assets in order to recover the money.
“After the 30 days elapses, we will begin to send bailiffs to all the ministers to grabs assets so that we can sale and recover the money. We are waiting for them to pay,” Sangwa said.
“ Asked if anyone of them had paid yet, he said as far as his law firm was aware, no payment had been made.
“I don’t know but as a lawyer on record, I can tell you that we have not received any payment. But after 30 days we are going to send bailiffs. They have less than 30 days now. That is why when I served the papers, I sued each and every minister in their individual capacity. I didn’t sue the Attorney General, and the judgement is in their own individual names. So if they don’t pay, we will send bailiffs. We just need to get details of where they stay and we will follow them with bailiffs after the 30 days elapses,” said Sangwa.
“Tell them that I already have draft writs of fifer in the name of each and every individual dependant. At the end of 30 days will file the papers. We still have rule of law in Zambia. We warned them. Bailiffs will be very busy because these are a lot of ministers. We are talking about over 60 ministers, they have had four years to prepare and raise this money. They knew about this judgement a long time ago, so they must pay. We don’t want the statements where they are saying ‘we are willing to pay’, just pay!”