470 retirees miss out on benefits

A TOTAL of 470 retirees under the Voluntary Separatees Association of Zambia (VSAZ) have been left out of the benefits that the Ministry of Justice released to the Lusaka High Court for payment to the former civil servants.

At a meeting convened by the Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, between the Registrar of the High Court and  VSAZ members yesterday, it was learnt that the Ministry of Justice only released K8 million instead of K8,936,837.94.

After the meeting an elated VSAZ general secretary Simemeza Syachoke told the Daily Nation that the battle over retirees’ money was partially won and thanked the Chief Justice for intervening.

Some retirees yesterday thronged the High Court as early as 07:00 hours to hear the outcome of the issue, while the other group represented by VSAZ camped at their premises in readiness to march to State House if no conclusion was found over the money.

Police with horses kept vigil at the VSAZ and High Court premises early in the morning after VSAZ members on Tuesday indicated they would defy the directive by police that the whole group should not march to State House but instead only representatives should make an appointment to meet the Head of State.

“From the onset, we made it clear that the money should be settled out of court because we knew that the outcome of such a directive would not be in the best interest of our members and we are very happy that our cry has finally been heard.

“As things are now, our money will be received by two legal firms; Malipenga and Company and P&P because they are the only firms with unaltered lists and we expect that the two legal firms should receive the money by Friday, and then our members will receive their dues. Those who will receive the money from the two firms are 2800. Malipenga and Company has 2699 while P&P Advocates have 101. The other firms will not be considered because of outstanding issues with the people they represent,” he said

And Mr. Syachoke has said that the association was pained to realise that some retirees who were represented by other lawyers would not receive their money at the same time.

He said if it was within the association’s powers it would have compelled the court to release their money through Malipenga and Company.

“It is sad, but there is nothing we can do. We are foreseeing a situation which happened in January 2014 where some legal firms collected some money on behalf of their purported clients but they never released that money. It is worse for those who may be far from Lusaka who may not know what is going on because they are likely to lose out,” he observed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Syachoke has revealed that there is an underpayment of over K900,000 from the total amount that was due to about 470 retirees. Mr. Syachoke said there was need to expedite the release of the remaining balance so that it does not create more problems in future.

“Our lawyer will officially write to the ministry and make a follow-up on the underpayment of K936, 837.94 because there is no indication as to who have been left out and why they were left out. We are calling upon the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice to immediately transfer the balance to avoid any more inconveniences,” he said.

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