Blantyre City council workers threaten to sue boss

Workers at the Blantyre City Council have threatened to sue their Director of Financial Services (DFS) a Mr. Kasamba for allegedly infringing on their personal life.

The workers also want the DFS out of the council for lacking professionalism in the manner he executes his job.

Some disgruntled members of staff have told Nyasa Times they want to sue the DFS after he connived with the Assistant Director of Administration Services (ADAS), Mpopo  Gilevulo, to ‘rob’ them their September salaries.

According to the employees, some four months ago, a fellow member of staff named a Mr. Mpingasa (Administrative Assistant) approached them with MTL mobile phones, which he was selling at K 7,5000 (actual price is K4999).

Nandolo: Not aware

Mpingasa, who was reportedly brokering the deal on behalf of Gilevulo, convinced the employees to pay him in three installments by cash.

After obtaining the phones, the workers said, they learnt with disbelief that the phones were going at K2500 each because MTL was running a promotion.

This made most of them become reluctant to pay the K7500 as just a few paid the first installment of K2500.

After observing that the people had defaulted payment for the agreed three month period, Gilevulo convinced Finance department to deduct from the workers’ September salaries using the name of Town Hall Welfare, a formal club under Administration department.

“We were greeted with a rude awakening on 29 September when we saw on our pay slips a deduction for loans obtained from Town Hall Welfare which we did not. In fact, this Welfare stopped giving out loans because it is bankrupt,” complained one worker.

What baffled the staff most was the fact that the deal had nothing to do with their employer, as it was private business.

“We have waited for two weeks for redress but nothing concrete has come out and our patience is wearing out,” said one of the victims.

The employees are wondering why this transaction went through the welfare because neither Gilevulo nor Mpingasa is in the executive.

Furthermore, the victims are wondering why the pay slips are indicating loans for welfare instead of private debts.

“I don’t think even Indians can do such a thing. Paying someone personal credit through deduction from your wages without even notifying you!” laughed the person, who suspected that the perpetuators were taking advantage of the DFS for being new at the council.

When the employees inquired from the welfare treasurer he told them off saying they should ask people at the salaries section because “he does not prepare salaries.”

“It was at the salaries where we learnt that the personal debts were dubiously transferred to the welfare. How that happened we will hear it in court,” he said.

Leaders of the Blantyre City Council Union have also reportedly told the disgruntled workers that they cannot help because the issue is beyond the union’s mandate.

“The Director of Administrative Services (DAS) Mr. Alfred Chanza is refusing to meet us, the Union says it cant do anything while Mr. Mpingasa who gave us the phones is referring us to Mr. Gilevulo, hence our decision to seek redress from the courts,” said our source.

Reports also indicate that during the deductions, a few other people who did not even get the phones were also affected. Of these only three have been refunded while nine others are yet to get their refunds.

“We are in four categories. One is that of people who were deducted though they never took the phones, the other is that of those who had been deducted after they had already paid. The third is that of people who were deducted more than what they took, so for example a person took one phone but he has been deducted as if he took two or three and finally there are those who were correctly deducted the agreed amount of K7500,” explained the source.

The development has affected close to 50 employees. Some of them have already been evicted from their houses after getting K0.00 from their salaries.

Complained one worker: “My Landlord has evicted me. Imagine getting K0.00 on my pay slip. This has never happened here because the policy of loans is that you should not get less than fifty percent of your basic pay after effecting deductions.”

Another issue is that some employees get around K 12,000.00 as basic pay but they were to be deducted K 15,000.00 (for two phones). And on their pay slips it is indicated that they have obtained a loan, which will be deducted next month.

“This was done to make sure there is enough money to be deducted. Imagine someone who has not applied for a loan is given one, not in cash but just to ensure that he or she has enough cash to give out to the owners of the phones. Imagine this happening in a government institution, is that fair?” lamented the source.

When contacted, the Chief Executive Officer for Blantyre City Council Emmanuel Ted Nandolo said he was not aware, as he has been in Lilongwe for the past three weeks attending a refresher course at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM).

And the acting CEO, Alfred Chanza, could not be reached on his mobile phone after several attempts while BCC direct line was just calling.

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