Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda lost his cool in Industrial Relations Court (IRC) on Wednesday when he was cross-examined by lawyer of sacked Clerk of Parliament Maltilda Katopola.
Katopola’s lawyer Samuel Tembenu quizzed the Chimunthu Banda on who was responsible for the Clerk’s dismissal.
“Government already made a decision that it would not work with the Clerk of Parliament (Katopola).The Parliamentary Services Commission made a decision that she should be sent on leave, pending directions from the President,” Chimunthu told the court.
Pressed if President Banda was responsible for Katopola’s ouster, Chimunthu said the President did not make any decision to fire hire but “was part of the process.”
Lawyer Tembenu asked Chimunthu to give yes or no answers on whether President Banda was responsible for Katopola’s dismissal.
“My lady I think I must say that my coming here is for the respect of the court so I hope I was not called here to be ridiculed,” Chimunthu snapped as he was conspicuously fused.
Senior State advocate Zolomphi Nkowani asked Chimunthu to explain to court the status of Katopola at Parliament which he said was “sent on forced leave when the President rejected the proposal to dismiss her.”
Katopola is contesting that the commission’s conduct amounted to constructive dismissal. She also wants the court to rule that she was unfairly dismissed and there was unfair labour practice.
The State, on the other hand, is arguing that Katopola was never dismissed because, among others, she continued drawing her benefits, including her child’s school fees as testified by secretary Kamwana.
The court has given both sides 14 working days to make their written submissions before Kamowa can make a ruling.