Katopola tells court JB fired her: Seeking K900m pay-out

Former Clerk of Parliament (CoP) Matilda Katopola has submitted to Industrial Relations Court (IRC) that President Joyce Banda directed her dismissal from her position.

Parliamentary Service Commission  (PSC) removed Katopola from office arguing that the current government was not ready to work with her, a moved she challenged by filing on July 26 2012 at the Lilongwe Industrial Relations Court as having been constructively dismissed and that the conduct of the PSC amounted to unfair labour practices.

She is claiming up to K900 million in benefits calculated up to 2030 when she will have retired.

Katopola testifies in dismissal case

Katopola testifies in dismissal case

Katopola confirmed to Nyasa Times appearing in court and giving the submissions.

Part of her submissions tendered in court reads: “It was the fact that it was the President who directed my dismissal in the first place when former Chief Secretary Mr. Bright Msaka conveyed the message to me on 7th May 2012. And this was further endorsed by the Speaker and his Commission on the ground that this government did not want to work with me. It was a political decision.

“And that the Commission supported the executive decision by endorsing my removal without reason as provided for in the Parliamentary Service Act. The arrest was meant to block me from getting my benefits which the Speaker had already directed the financial controller of the Parliamentary Service Commission to compute officially.”

The submission further reads in part: “That the purported response by the President inviting me back to work was only a smokescreen and a rap to eventually formalize removal. Peoples Party officials had threatened me soon after the president took over office and this was evidenced in Mr Msaka’s warning that if I refused to leave Parliament
I would face hostilities which I did eventually.”

Katopola says the letter of interdiction by the Speaker in May 2013 a year after removal from office was a very sad development not expected of the Commission when they aided her removal by the executive arm of government unlawfully.

The former CoP testified that she was further surprised to receive a letter of interdiction from the PSC due to “abscondment and neglect of duty”, yet it was the same office which had sent her home on compulsory leave.

“You don’t interdict someone who has already been dismissed. I faced hostilities from the word go from Parliament staff and MPs [members of Parliament]. So, I thought this time it would be safer for me to stay home. It was in bad faith that someone could force me to go back to Parliament without details of why I was removed in the first place,” Katopola contended.

“Todate they have never justified why they removed me without reasons,” reads the submission.

During cross-examination, lead lawyer from the Attorney General’s office, Kellious Mlenga who was assisted by Kausi, argued that while she was at home and considering herself dismissed, Katopola claimed benefits in fees for her child and use of her official vehicle, as late as January, 2013.

But Katopola said she made the claims and was duly paid pending the calculation of her final benefits.

The IRC deputy chairperson Chimwemwe Kamowa adjourned the case to a date to be decided where the State is expected to call its witnesses.

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