FIVE lawyers are up in arms against each other over retirees’ money after one of them refused to sign for the money alleging that he had received a little amount for the number of pensioners he was representing.
The act has angered the other four as the money remains stuck at the court due to the stand-off.
Government, through the Ministry of Justice, released the K1.5 million balance a month ago as terminal benefits for non-civil servant retirees and awarded the monies to law firms according to the records that were with the High Court but one of the law firms, DP Mupeta & Co. protested the amount received, saying his firm was underpaid.
According to records obtained by the Daily Nation last week, Malipenga & Co, Okware & Associates, and Lukona Chambers were supposed to get K 400,000 each while Milner Katolo and DP Mupeta & Co were entitled to K200, 000 and K100, 000 respectively but the latter has protested the distribution and has subsequently refused to sign for the money, thereby halting the process of having the retirees paid. The company, which is based in Ndola, is asking for the review of the monies awarded to all the firms but this has not augured well with the Voluntary Separatees Association of Zambia (VSAZ) which has charged that DP Mupeta & Co were being insincere in its claims.
VSAZ general secretary Simemeza Syachoke has told the Daily Nation that it was wrong for one company to create unnecessary delay in the payment of retirees’ terminal benefits because of selfish interest when retirees have been waiting for their dues for too long.
Mr. Syachoke accused the company of not representing anyone and challenged it to produce the lists of the people that it paid the initial amounts that were released by Governmnet rather than claiming that it was underpaid in the remaining balance.
“This company’s claims are baseless because they do not even have the people they are claiming to represent even on the amounts that they have been given. We challenge them to produce lists of the people they are claiming to represent because some of the people they are claiming were paid under Malipenga and Co. in the previous allocation. How can they claim that they were under-paid?” Mr. Syachoke asked.
He appealed to the High Court to force all the companies to present their acquittals for the initial amounts that were released before they were given the balances, saying there was a lot of insincerity.
“In the spirit of harmony and peace, we are asking the court to compel all these firms to produce acquittals for the monies that were initially given in the first disbursement so that we can know which firm paid particular retirees. As a matter of fact, the correct position should have been that the money from DP Mupeta & Co. should have been distributed among the four companies which had the track record of which people they paid.
“This company just wants to create unnecessary problems and derailments when our people are already suffering because their monies have delayed. We have been asking Governmnet to release this money but after it honoured its obligation, we did not expect any more problems especially from a company like this one,” he said.