The Attorney General’s (AG) has successfully challenged a consent order in which the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) awarded K754 million to former Local Government principal secretary Christopher Makileni for unfair dismissal from the government.
The court has since settled for an K18 million compensation.
During the hearing of the case in which the AG, Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda, was challenging the consent order, Makileni summed up the claim at K923 863 300, an amount he said included legal fees.
Makileni, through his lawyer Paul Maulidi, earlier on wanted the AG, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi and the then Deputy Secretary to the President and Cabinet Janet Banda to be charged with contempt of court for failing to honour the consent order and directions for the payment as ordered earlier.
But after taking office, Chakaka-Nyirenda challenged the consent order that was entered, arguing before the court that the claimant did not deserve it as he was not rendering his services, among other factors.
Passing his judgement, IRC deputy chairperson Howard Pemba agreed with the AG that considering that the ex-PS was not rendering services to the government since 2014, the only loss he suffered was related to personal or private use of a motor vehicle.
“Evidence is profound that this has been within the whole period of 2014 and 2020. There was a time he took the Local Government vehicle with him to OPC and although it was taken back to Local Government, he used it for some part of his stay at OPC,” Pemba said.
The deputy IRC chairperson said evidence was also rife that on several occasions at unspecified times, Makileni was still provided with a motor vehicle for personal use whenever he needed it.
“In view of all these, this court believes that an award of K18 097 916.70 which represents his loss for one year will be fair and adequate as compensation for unfair labour practice,” Pemba said, ordering that the amount should be paid within 14 days from Thursday when the order was made.
When the initial consent order was entered earlier in August 2021, Makileni had argued that the time for him to be re-deployed expired at the close of business on November 16 2020 and that the government should pay him K754 million.
Government, through the former AG Chikosa Silungwe, moved to have the matter settled amicably by reinstating Makileni and paying him his dues as a normal employee.
In the initial consent order between the government and Makileni, which Chakaka-Nyirenda challenged, the former PS was awarded K216 million in pension, K205 million for loss of motor vehicle use, K269 million for salary before tax and K63 million for fuel as his benefits.
The court learnt that Makileni was, and even at the time of the hearing, still employed by government since July 2 2002. He was initially employed as a District Commissioner and was stationed at Kasungu.
He rose through ranks to the director of finance and administration and finally to the principal secretary responsible for special duties as of April 18 2020, according to the Pemba judgement.
The genesis of Makileni’s action, the court observed, emanated from June 3 2014 when he was posted from Ministry of Local Government to the OPC, and according to him, he was never given a vehicle there and this necessitated him to stay at home. The AG is remarkably scoring high on most of the cases he is challenging claims against the government, with others running in billions.