THE Attorney General’s chambers has asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss an application by former National Assembly employees to enter judgment in default in a matter where 71 retirees sued the State over pension and terminal benefits.
Alexis Chibombe and 70 others in this matter cited the Attorney General and are claiming payment of pension and terminal benefits in the form of early retirement benefits following government’s Structural Adjustment Programme between 1992 and 1993.
The 71 also claim allowances enjoyed at the time of exit from the National Assembly with interest. The State did not file a defence since the claim was filed in June 2017 and was served on the defendants. The plaintiffs, through their lawyer Lilian Mushota, applied for leave to enter judgment in default.
In her affidavit, Mushota stated that she had written to the Attorney General’s chambers informing them of the plaintiff’s intention to apply for leave to enter judgment if they did not receive the defence by June 30, 2017.
But in a response filed in court recently, acting senior State advocate Kaumbi Ndulo-Mundia urged the court to dismiss the application to enter judgment in default of appearance and defence against the State because the case needed to be heard on merits.
Mundia stated in her affidavit in opposition to summons to enter judgment in default of appearance and defence that the failure by the State to file was not done out of disrespect to the court.
She submitted that the failure was caused by the delay in obtaining instructions from the National Assembly.
“The defendants are desirous of being heard in this matter and it be in the interest of justice for this honourable court to proceed and determine this matter accordingly after a full trial,” stated Mundia.
According to the claim filed in June 2017, the plaintiffs went on early retirement at the behest of the defendant due to restructuring but that they were not paid their retirement benefits.
The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing on November 8, 2017
before judge Mwila Kombe