GEARS Initiative Zambia has said it is excited with the Constitutional Court’s decision not to entertain PF Secretary General Davies Mwila’s application in the matter where ministers were ordered to pay back money they received after Parliament was dissolved in 2016.
The ConCourt last Thursday refused to reopen and review its final order where 64 PF ministers who illegally remained in office after Parliament was dissolved ahead of the general elections were asked to pay back the salaries they received.
Mwila, on behalf of the ministers, asked the court to set aside part of its judgment that ordered the ministers to pay back salaries and allowances they obtained after the dissolution of Parliament.
This was in a matter where UPND, through its secretary general Steven Katuka, petitioned the Constitutional Court to order the 64 ministers to pay back all the money they got after Parliament was dissolved.
“GEARS Initiative Zambia commends the Con Court for not allowing PF’s SG Mwila’s forum shopping expedition on this case by standing firm on its earlier order, judgement and ruling on the need for the former Ministers to payback the salaries and allowances obtained during their illegal stay in office after the dissolution of Parliament. Had the court allowed this forum shopping by Mr. Mwila and reopened the case in which the same Court ordered that ministers who remained in office after the dissolution of parliament in 2016 payback the salaries and allowances paid to them during that period, it would have set a very dangerous Constitutional precedence,” GEARS executive director McDonald Chipenzi stated.
“With this latest development, GEARS Initiative Zambia expects all the 64 former ministers involved must comply to the directives and order of the court failure to which it will be setting a bad precedent not to comply with the Court Orders. Some of those ministers may be broke but that does not warrant their disregard of the Court order and a mechanism must be put in place to ensure that this money is pay within a prescribed time frame. Already, 3 years have gone by without these minister paying using delaying tactics but this should not allowed as it also undermines the authority of the judiciary presently and in future.”
He called on President Edgar Lungu to demonstrate leadership on this matter and instruct Secretary to Cabinet and the Secretary to the Treasury to put transparent mechanisms aimed at collecting all the outstanding monies from these ministers.
“We know that President Lungu is guilty of having misled these ministers (though ignorance of the law is no defence) through his misinterpretations of the Constitution provisions at the time hence his seemingly encouragement to these former and serving ministers not to pay back the salaries and allowances. We shall not rest until the taxpayers’ money collected by these ministers is collected and well applied for the benefit of the general public,” stated Chipenzi. “To this end, we shall be monitoring the presidential actions and utterances over this matter and observe whether or not the obstacle to realising this payback of our money to the national Treasury is the Presidency. Further, we want to caution those ministers former and serving that this matter is about them as individuals and hiding in the presidency will one day boomerang and explode in their faces once President Lungu leaves office. So let them pay now while their boss is in office and clear the public debt they accumulated out of their ignorance of the law.”