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Ex-cop sues govt for unlawful dismissal

A FORMER senior police officer has sued Inspector General of police, Kakoma Kanganja, for unlawful dismissal from work and is seeking an order that the decision was illegal, null and void. Silvester Shipolo, who is a former superintendent and national coordinator for community safety unit, has cited the Attorney General as second respondent, seeking an order of the High Court that his dismissal was in breach of the very law relied upon in dismissing him. He wants an order to reinstate him in his position and be entitled to all monetary benefits, restoration or unblocking of the salary and damages for unfair, wrongful and illegal dismissal.

Shipolo is further demanding damages for mental torment, aguish, embarrassment, and shock, among others. According to his statement of claim filed on Tuesday May 14, the former superintendent stated that he was a police officer employed under the Zambia police service for a continuous period of 20 years. Shipolo says he was assistant superintendent until 2012 when he was promoted and appointed to a full superintendent and as national coordinator for community safety upon acquiring a Master’s Degree in Gender studies. He contends that he had initially applied for self -sponsored study leave for a period of two years in which to pursue the master’s degree at the University of Zambia in 2010 and completed in 2012 while attending to both work and school.

Shipolo stated that upon completing his masters, he was granted an opportunity to pursue a PhD in the same programme after applying for extension of his study leave from the initial two years to three years to permit her pursuing the PhD studies. Shipolo stated that after his immediate supervisor granted him permission, he witnessed a change in the manner his issue was treated upon change of command in 2016 from Stella Libongani to Kanganja. He stated that he was suddenly slapped with frivolous and vexatious charges of absenteeism without leave and was requested to exculpate himself on the alleged absent without leave. The plaintiff stated that he wrote to his supervisor a self-explanatory exculpatory letter disputing both the absent without leave allegation as well as having not been granted approved study leave for the stated period.

In the letter, he stated that he was attending to both school and work at the same time on the basis of express verbal permission granted at the instance of the IG’s employees, agents or servants who previously held the relevant offices for purposes of granting permissions. Shipolo said Kanganja surprisingly gave him a dismissal letter in September 2016 citing the public service conditions without instituting a hearing prior to. He accused Kanganja of writing the dismissal letter in haste and without constituting any administrative disciplinary hearing before invoking the public service regulations contrary to basic rules of natural justice that require the other side to be heard.

He stated that owing to the “unfair dismissal”, he had suffered mental torture, anguish, embarrassment, and insurmountable loss and damage for loss of salary as his source of income was blocked and has remained so up to now.

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