Malawi Law Society faults Chakwera order on public officers interdiction without pay: ‘Illegal’

Malawi Law Society has faulted President Lazarus Chakwera for  ordering public officials suspecting of squandering the Covid-19 funds be suspended without pay and backs the legal advice given by  Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe to  the Department of Human Resource Management and Development and the Accountant General’s office that the withholding of pay for public officers on interdiction is illegal.

Mpaka: PrWanga Gesident of Malawi Law Society says appointing authorities can perform the directives

In a national address on Sunday, Chakwera said he had directed the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, to interdict without pay those public officers on whose direct watch the financial mismanagement occurred.

President of the Malawi Law Society, Chalres Mpaka, said Attorney General’s legal advice  represents  “a well-settled and correct legal position” on which High Court pronounced a confirming judgement in 2016.

Mpaka said if the President is the appointing authority, he may, subject to certification of the unauthorised expenditure by the Secretary  to Treasury suspend a controlling officer without pay under the public finanace management laws.

In the letter dated February 4 2021, Silungwe says his office has been receiving communication from various law firms about public officers being interdicted without pay.

Silungwe further states that officers should not be denied their pay regardless of the circumstances that led to their interdiction, stressing that is illegal.

A labour law expert Mauya Msuku supported the AG’s stand, saying monetary punishments by employers are prohibited.

“Suspension without pay is unlawful,” said Msuku.

He said: “An interdiction is based on an allegation and it is wrong to punish someone before they are proven guilty.

In civil cause number 254 of 2016 between Dr Gift Sten Chinomba (petitioner) and the Attorney General (defendant), on Chinomba’s interdiction from public office on no pay as part of a disciplinary process, High Court Judge Mike Tembo ruled that it was wrong to withhold pay of officers on interdiction.

The judge stated that although Chinomba was interdicted on suspected misappropriation of public funds, interdiction on no pay is in contravention of the statutory provisions on discipline as contained in Section 56 (3) and (4) of the Employment Act.

Reads the ruling in part: “ The plaintiff will, therefore, remain on interdiction but with pay. This should spur the defendant to take disciplinary action against the plaintiff fairly quickly knowing that he is on pay while on interdiction.”

The court further observed that in public service, employees are normally put on interdiction on no pay which results in the responsible authorities forgetting to finalise the disciplinary process.

In his speech on Sunday, President Chakwera also directed Secretary to President and Cabinet  to ensure that those officers are referred to the relevant Service Commissions to either clear their names or be sanctioned and disciplined, saying that disciplinary proceedings should  begin within 14 days.

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Vilekeke
Vilekeke
22 days ago

I now believe that the MLS is a deterrent to progress

BigMan
BigMan
22 days ago
Reply to  Vilekeke

A gang of greedy and unpatriotic thieves, they are now busy working with these interdicted uncivil servants to sue the government for billions. This is why i always say backward nations like Malawi cannot develop with democracy, no nation in the world has ever developed without an iron fist after which they transition to democracy.

Baba Tunde
Baba Tunde
23 days ago

I hate it when the Attorney General offers incomplete advice just like in the MEC Commissioners case. The AG should be providing options analysing the pros and cons of each option and give the President a recommendation on the best option to achieve the intended goal. He can’t just say, you can’t do this or that without offering alternatives! He should learn from Ralph Kasambara who coined the term ‘constructive resignation’. That was an innovative way to achieve the same goal without breaking the law. In this case, maybe interdiction without pay is bad. Just suspend them and arrest them… Read more »

Mdala
Mdala
22 days ago
Reply to  Baba Tunde

As long there is evidence, a thief is a thief! Even she/he is a public officer or their Ceo! And a thief, who steals money which is needed to fight a deadly pandemic is lethal …! Consequent and strict measures are needed!
A Magufuli type of President would have not hesitated to fire them straight away without any benefits, but after recovering the stolen money!

BigMan
BigMan
23 days ago

These lawyers are some of the worst people in the world, complete confusionists. Most of them would happily milk the government’s already depleted coffers to defend these thieves that have been interdicted.

And frankly for the MLS to have a chap like Mpaka leading and speaking for them says it all. He is amongst the worst of them, a completely unethical and corrupt crook.

Last edited 23 days ago by BigMan
Gemet
Gemet
23 days ago

Now Mr Mphaka is the ag. Silungwe uyu ah. Kwali na munyinu.

Pedegu ku state House
23 days ago

Koma nalikukuti Chakwera ativuta eti!! Munthu oyipa mtima zedi galu ameneyu.

50 plus 1
50 plus 1
23 days ago

Malawi lero

Anzanufe
Anzanufe
23 days ago

Tonse government is raping the constitution. Let the individuals pay the costs. Precedent was set. A zangazanga mufera za eni

Kwathu Mkomkuno
Kwathu Mkomkuno
23 days ago

Gentlemen on this issue only lets look at the material facts of the issue then conclude, these money were meant for the pandemic and everybody was under panic such that people who could not mask up were arrested and charged if you can look into our constitution that is not there but because the president wanted his people to served and somebody somewhere was busy stealing the money nonono they should not get their salaries

Bentby
23 days ago

These law society are the ones advising thieves in govt on how to get away with their thievery acts. Only few of these law firms are patriotic to the nation…..

Kamuzu koto koto
23 days ago

Malawi is no longer a country but a Village. Chakwera is group Village head man while Chilima is a subgroup Village Head man
Malawi has gone to the dogs

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