The constitutional court has ordered parliamentarians who stayed in office to pay back because their stay in office was illegal.
Antonio Mwanza is stepping up the demand to ensure those who owe state funds pay back.
BELOW IS ANTONIO MWANZA’S STATEMENT
THE FULL STORY ABOUT ILLEGAL MINISTERS; WILL THEY PAY?
First and foremost we welcome the ruling by the Constitutional Court that former Ministers who illegally remained in office after the disillusion of Parliament must pay back all the money that they illegally accrued.
However, this ConCourt judgment is not instructive and elaborate enough and risks to be rendered an academic exercise:
1. The Court did not state how much each of these former Ministers must pay.
2. The court did not state when these former Ministers must start paying.
3. The court did not state whether the money must be paid in instalments and if so how much per instalment and on what basis, is it monthly, quarterly or yearly.
The court must have instructed the Treasury to compute the amounts and then give directions on how those amounts must be paid. That’s standard practice in all matters to deal with compesation.
4. The court did not state the penalties or sanctions it will mete out if those former Ministers default.
5. The court should have nullified all those seats that were won by these former Ministers that were petitioned on the basis that those folks illegally used state resources and state machinery to win elections.
We know that the focus has been on the need for those former Ministers to pay back the money they illegally accrued but we should not forget that the action by the Ministers to illegally remain in office is somewhat treasonous as these fellows illegally usurped and used state power; those Ministers were illegally using state authority, illegally accessing state security, illegally accessing and using state intelligence, illegally using state machinery and they were illegally making decisions and illegally giving instructions to state officers and state institutions on behalf of the state.
What will happen to the illegal decisions they were making and and the illegal instructions they were giving? What happens to the debt and grants they illegally contracted and received on behalf of the state? All these things must have been addressed by the court.
In conclusion it must be made clear that President Edgar Lungu took advantage of the lacuna that existed in The Constitution Act No 1 to maintain those Ministers in office after the dissolution of Parliament. Act No 1 which gave guidelines to the Constitutional transition after the Constitutional Amendments of 2016 stipulated that Ministers shall remain in office until the next president is sworn into office.
However, it must be noted that this provision is only applicable to Ministers who are appointed outside Parliament because their tenure of office is not tied to the life of Parliament since they are not members of the national assembly. So when the government doctored the Constitution and removed the appointment of Cabinet outside Parliament they forgot to or deliberately did not remove the subsequent clauses and it was up to the MPs who were reading and voting and amending the constitution to have removed this clause but as usual our MPs….
So whether the money will be paid back or not in the absence of a clear court instruction is depended on how the public will take this matter otherwise the whole judgment risks being rendered an academic exercise.
Issued by Antonio Mwanza, FDD Deputy National Secretary and Party Spokesperson.