Ministry of Labour has accused some medical personnel and lawyers of their involvement in making unsolicited claims for injuries in the workplace using the Workers’ Compensation Act of 2000.
In an interview last week, Ministry of Labour spokesperson Christina Mkutumula said the malpractice was continuing despite a caution from the ministry against the same.
Her sentiments refer to an earlier statement the ministry issued alerting the public about the scheme aimed at defrauding employers and insurance companies.
The ministry said some lawyers went to the extent of “planting agents” in private firms involved in manufacturing to check and report injuries which in turn the lawyers take to court without instructions from the affected employees who are only alerted when the court orders compensation reward.
Mkutumula said the ministry plans to holistically tackle the problem by introducing a Workers’ Compensation Fund.
She said : “ T h e ministry believes that the introduction of the fund will address most of the challenges being met with the current system.” introduction of the fund will
Mkutumula observed that while the Workers’ Compensation Act provides processes to follow and pay injured workers without necessarily suing the companies they work or worked for, the law does not prevent the injured employees from suing their companies; hence, the proposal to establish the Workers’ Compensation Fund.
Responding to allegations against some of its members, Malawi Law Society (MLS) said it cannot act based on allegations.
In a written response, the society’s honorary secretary Mar tha Kaukonde sa i d : “However, if there is any material to support any allegation against our member, we will no doubt take appropriate steps against any such member.”
On his part, Society of Medical Doctors president Victor Mithi said in an interview on Thursday that if the ministry was raising the issue again, there was a possibility that the malpractice was happening.
He described the issue as complex and appealed to ministries of Labour and Health as well as the doctors’ body to find a lasting solution.
A Blantyre-based industrialist who once raised an alarm to the Ministry of Labour on the syndicate, but opted not to be named, welcomed the proposed Workers’ Compensation Fund but appealed for wide consultation among stakeholders before rollout. n