BOZ must pay police officers as it loses again

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THE Bank of Zambia will have to deep in its coffers and settle emoluments for 60 police officers that were seconded to the institution whom it refused to pay salaries and allowances similar to conditions of Bank employees.

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The Cebtral Bank has yet again lost a case against the officers for failing to defend the case both at the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

In this matter Bernard Fundi on behalf of 59 erstwhile police officers seconded to the Bank had sued the institution seeking a declaration that the contracts of secondment given to them by the Bank contravened cabinet circular no.3 of 2001 and were of no legal effect.

They sought a declaration that the plaintiffs as officers on secondment were entitled to the same terms and conditions of service applicable to security officers of BOZ.

Fundi and others sought an order for specific performance of the agreements between the plaintiffs and the defendant in relation to their salaries, overtime allowances, shift differential allowances and gratuity as governed by cabinet circular no.3 of 2001.

In their statement of claim before the High Court Fundi and others stated that between 2008 and 2016 they were engaged by BOZ under written fixed term contracts.

They said they were segregated in terms of payment as they did not receive the same amounts compared to officers of the Bank contrary to the dictates of the cabinet circular.

Ruling on the application judge Charles Kafunda directed that since BOZ is a statutory Body and the circular was addressed to all statutory bodies without exception and the cabinet circular was binding on BOZ.

He said officers on secondment were to be subjected to the same conditions as those employed by the bank and they were not supposed to be disadvantaged by being given lesser conditions than those enjoyed in their previous stations before secondment.

Judge Kafunda said the plaintiffs were entitled to Bank of Zambia’s conditions and awarded them their claims with interest and the Bank’s lending rate and costs to be taxed in default of agreement.

Dissatisfied with the pronouncements BOZ appealed the Court’s ruling before the Court of Appeal but the same was dismissed for want of prosecution.

The officers asked the Court to dismiss the case as the Bank did not file necessary documentation to challenge the High Court’s ruling on time but instead applied for an extension of time.

In its explanation Bank of Zambia indicated that the High Court ruling was not made available on time hence the reason it did not file the record of appeal on time.

However the Court of Appeal indicated that it will not entertain the laxicity by litigants in abiding by the Court of Appeal Rules.

Court of Appeal judge Mubanga Kondolo said the Bank did not give a satisfying explanation for the inordinate delay in filing it’s records of appeal.

He said a party that wakes up from slumber after it’s feathers have been ruffled does so at its own peril and has itself to blame.

Kalemba February 5,2023.

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