The Office of the Ombudsman says it has over 19 000 compensation claims from Malawians who did not get their dues through the now-defunct National Compensation Tribunal.
The revelation comes at a time when ex-Malawi Young Pioneers are holding vigils at the War Memorial Tower in Lilongwe to force government to pay retirement packages.
Spokesperson for the Office of the Ombudsman, Arthur Semba, said this in an interview with Malawi News Agency yesterday in Lilongwe.
”Government closed National Compensation Tribunal before it concluded the cases it had received. Our office collected over 23 000 files from the courts and Malawi Human Rights Commission [MHRC]. The files reveal that 19 000 cases were still [waiting] justice at the time of closure,’’ he said.
Semba also said the complaints were lodged within the lifespan of the tribunal but it shut down before it could settle them.
He said the 10 years that has passed since the tribunal was disbanded cannot be a basis for denying compensation to the complainants because it was the institution which failed to settle the cases within the mandated time.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman has engaged the Attorney General, the registrar of the High Court, former chairpersons of the National Compensation Tribunal, MHRC and some complainants to ensure that justice is rendered once and for all, according to Semba.
The National Compensation Tribunal was created by Section 137 of the Republican Constitution and mandated to hear claims of alleged victimisation during the one-party State before the dawn of democracy in 1994.
Section 145 of the Constitution mandated the tribunal to carry out its activities and wind them up within 10 years from 1994 to 2004.
After the closure of the tribunal, complaints of unsettled compensation claims started flooding the Office of the Ombudsman.