Government may cough millions of tax-payers’ money if five aides of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika succeed in their lawsuits for unfair dismissal and administrative and labour practices.
The quintet comprises Mutharika’s spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba, Advisor on Women Affairs Margaret Chiponda, Senior Political Advisor Francis Mphepo, Director General for State Residences Edward Sawerengera and Presidential Press Officer Albert Mungomo
According to court documents filed with the Industrial Relations Court, the former presidential aides in their individual capacities are suing government for damages after their respective contracts were terminated prematurely on May 11 last year.
In their separate claim statements, they argue that their contracts were terminated without being given any reason and that they were also not given any opportunity to be heard.
“In the premises, (the applicants have) been subjected to unfair labour practices, unfair dismissal and unfair administrative practices,” read the statements.
The contracts were for a fixed period of 36 months.
Ntaba entered into contract with government on October 8, 2010 on an annual salary of K4,867,092 among other benefits while Chiponda was engaged on August 1, 2010 with a total of K2,809,116 annual salary among other perks.
Government has since denied all claims of unfairness for Ntaba, arguing that he was paid all that was due to him under his contract.
On Chiponda, government argues that the contract was terminated in line with Article IX of her contract. It says Chiponda was paid one month salary in lieu of notice in the wake of termination of her contract.
As for Mphepo, he entered into a contract with government on July 1, 2010 as a senior political advisor to the President with an annual salary K3, 997,140 among other benefits.
Like in the case of Ntaba and Chiponda, government denies Mphepo’s claims of unfairness in the termination of his contract.
“The applicant received all that was due to him under his contract,” read the documents.
In the documents Sawerengera indicates that he was appointed on September 9, 2009 as the Director General for State Residences for a fixed period of 36 months and his contract was terminated before its expiry.
He was getting a K780, 345.86 per month among other benefits.
But the government argues that Sawerengera’s contract was terminated in line with the termination clause of the contract and that he was paid a three months’ salary in lieu of notice.
Government also denies unfairness in the termination of contract for Mungomo who was engaged in January, 2010 as Presidential Press Officer. He was getting a total of K2, 975, 376 as an annual salary among other benefits.
Government claims that Mungomo’s contract was terminated in accordance of the contract he signed.
The contracts were terminated following Mutharika’s sudden death from cardiac arrest on April 5 last year.