ConCourt gives 63 ex-PF ministers, deputies 30 days to repay K4.2m for illegal stay in office

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THE Constitutional Court has given a 30-day ultimatum to 63 former Patriotic Front cabinet ministers and their deputies to bay back the money they illicitly acquired for illegally staying in office after their mandate had expired prior to the 2016 Presidential and General elections.

Constitutional Court registrar Dorcas Malama has finalised the matter and has assessed that the amount Ngosa Simbyakula and 62 others are required to pay back to the state’s treasury is K4,266,664.10 for the period of May to July 2016 which should be paid by January 5, 2021.

According to the amounts of the salaries and allowances tabulated by the court,  Simbyakula will have to pay back K57, 510.23, Richwell Siamunene (60,434.87), Davies Mwila (60,434.87), Joseph Kasonde (57,512.88), Harry Kalaba (60,434.88), Chishimba Kambwili (58,681.80), Margaret Mwanakatwe (57,512.88), Jean Kapata (58,679.16), Fackson Shamenda (58,681.80), Christabel Ngimbu (60,434.87), Emerine Kabanshi (60,434.88), Yamfwa Mukanga (58,681.80), Nkandu Luo (58,681.80) and Vincent Mwale (60,434.87).

Others are

Joseph Katema (58,681.80), Stephen Kampyongo (60,434.88), Greyford Monde (60,434.88), John Phiri (57,512.87), Christopher Yaluma (60,434.88), Michael Katungu (60,434.87), Given Lubinda (56,226.92), Alexander Chikwanda (58,681.80), Dora Siliya (59,980.27), Kapembwa Simbao (61,756.74) and Esther Banda (56,058.30).

The list includes

Nicholas Banda (57,811.38), Gerry Chanda (56,058.30), Chitalu Chilufya (56,058.30), Danny Ching’imbu (57,811.38), Obius Chisala (57,811.38), Ronald Chitotela (57,811.38), Lazarous Chungu (56,058.30), James Kapyanga (56,058.30), Panji Kaunda (54,889.38), Berina Kawandami(56,058.30), Dorothy Kazunga (57,811.38), John Kufuna (56,058.30), and Lawrence Evans (56,058.30).

Josephine Limata (57,811.38), Joseph Lungu (57,811.38), David Mabumba (57,811.38), Rayford Mbulu (56,057.43), Christopher Mulenga (57,811.38), Sydney Mushanga (56,058.30), Richard Musukwa (56,058.30), Christopher Mvunga (54,889.38), Mutaba Mwali (56,058.30), Alfred Mwamba (57,811.38), Davies Mwango (57,811.38), Patrick Ngoma (57,811.38) and Maxas Ng’ona (57,812.38) are also on the list.

Others are Lawrence Sichalwe (56,058.30), Forrie Tembo (57,811.38), Charles Zulu (57,811.38), Davies Chisopa (57,811.38), Dawson Kafwaya (57,811.38), Benson Kapaya (56,058.30), Mwimba Malama (57,811.38), Malozo Sichone (57,811.38), Nathaniel Mumbukwanu (57,811.38), Mwenya Musenge (56,058.30), Poniso Njeulu (57,811.38) and Chomba Sikazwe (57,811.38).

In this matter, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka had asked the Constitutional Court to compel the Registrar of the Constitutional Court to assesses the amount of money that the Patriotic Front ministers are required to pay back as directed by the court in a matter where the Law Association of Zambia and the UPND had petitioned Simbyakula and 63 others in the Constitutional Court in 2016 for failing to vacate office when their mandate had expired prior to the elections.

The State claimed that it had challenges in both addressing the recovery of emoluments and or considering the question of indemnity as the exact emoluments (salaries, allowances and per diems) to be recovered have not been agreed by the parties, three years after judgment.

In a further afidavit in support of assessment of amount due pursuant to the judgment dated August 8, 2016, filed on July 16,2020 and sworn by Fides Kalangwa, a director of policy research and standards in the office of the Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance, the state indicated that the emoluments had been duly computed by the policy research and standards for the period of May to July 2016.

“As can be seen from the said computation the total amount recoverable from the former Cabinet ministers and former deputy ministers for the period of May to July 2016 is in the sum of K4, 778,664.10.

“The computation was arrived at after looking at the payslips of the former Cabinet ministers and former Deputy Ministers,” said Kalangwa.

According to a notice of non-objection to the quantum settled by the state, Simbyakula and his counterparts did not object to paying the K4.7 million proposed by the State being emoluments which they are required to pay back for staying in office illegally, but demanded K15, 000 each as repatriation allowances.

“Take notice that the respondents did not object to the quantum of emoluments as quantified by the first respondent (State),” read the notice. “Save that the said respondents were not paid their repatriation allowances in the sum of K15, 000 per person.”

The notice further indicated that the 31st respondent, Obius Chisala, did not receive his salary and allowances for two months in June and July 2016 because his contract of employment was terminated on June 8 that year.

The State later reduced the amount of money it suggested that former PF cabinet ministers and their deputies would pay back from the initial K4.7 million to K4.2 million.

The state argued that the repatriation allowances owed to the 63 was K8, 000, contrary to the K15,000 which they were demanding.

Secretary to the Treasury

Fredson Yamba in an affidavit in reply to the notice of non-objection to the quantum settled by the State said the 63 are owed K8,000 as repatriation allowances and not K15,000.

“With regards to the issue of repatriation allowances, the correct figure to be paid to the former cabinet ministers and former deputy ministers is K8,000 each. My office has duly re-computed the summary for net pays and allowances to be recovered from ministers taking into account the K8,000,” Yamba said.

“The total amount recoverable from the former cabinet ministers and their deputies for the period of May to July 2016 is in the sum of K 4,266,664.10.”

Yamba said with regards to the claim by Chisala that he was not paid, the latter was paid his salary for the months of May, June and July 2016 as his pays lips are confirmed that he was cleared his dues.

When the matter came up for hearing, Kalaluka argued that in the absence of an affidavit in opposition to the State’s application, the amount due to the State should be assessed at the sum of K4, 266,664.10 as settled by the State.

Lawyer representing the Law Association of Zambia Jeffrey Chimankata submitted that LAZ did not object to the application by the state to pay back K4.2 million as it was in support of the same but requested that the assessed amount should have judgment interest in accordance with Section 3 of the Judgment Act Chapter 81 of the Laws of Zambia.

But Kalaluka argued that the ministers and their deputies should pay the state what the Constitutional Court ordered them to pay without adding or deducting, as interest was at the discretion of the court and is only payable if the court exercises its discretion.

In her ruling, Concourt registrar Malama said that the former ministers and their deputies were paid salaries and allowances in May, June and July 2016 in full, therefore since the first 11 days of May 2016 fall outside the period that the assessment was directed to cover, the portion of salaries and allowances earned by the 63 should be deducted from the amount to be refunded to the state by them.

“The State’s affidavit evidence before me does not show that the earnings for the first 11 days of May 2016 were taken into account by the state in its initial computation as the subsequent re-computation of salaries and allowances to be recovered from the ministers,” Registrar Malama said. “In assessing the amounts to be refunded to the state by the 63, I have assessed their earnings for the first 11 days of May 2016. I have further deducted the 11 days earnings for each of the respondents from the total of their salaries and allowances to be deducted from the ministers as re-computed by the state after the deduction of repatriation allowances from the initial computation.”

The court has excused Raymond Lukonde Mpundu as he was not a party to the proceedings.

The former ministers and their deputies will have to pay the money within one month effective December 7.

Credit: The Mast/By Mwaka Ndawa

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