There is a twist to the K750 million case, in which former Local Government principal secretary (PS) Christopher Makileni is claiming compensation for unlawful dismissal, as Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe claims that the former PS was still on the government’s payroll at the time of the claim.
The startling revelation is in court documents we have seen. The AG also questions the consent order which, Makileni claims, was signed by his office. The consent order was used to claim the compensation.
The AG’s office further says endorsements were made erroneously as Makileni had, at the time of the settlement, not yet left the civil service and was, in fact, enjoying all the salary and benefits of a PS.
The court documents are part of the government’s argument, which its representatives want to use to move the court to set aside the consent order as the case is set for hearing at the Industrial Relations Court (IRC).
The court documents also indicate that the benefits include fuel, official motor vehicle, airtime, water allowance, electricity allowance, duty allowance as well as motor vehicle allowance.
The application from the AG, which seeks to have the settlement stopped, also notes that Makileni had earlier on withdrew a case he had filed against the office in 2015.
Further, the AG submits that, in or around August 2020, following the execution of the consent order, Makileni obtained a general purpose loan from the government as a civil servant.
The said such loans could never be obtained if he [Makileni] were not a civil servant, reads the plea document we have seen.
On January 26 2015, Makileni commenced proceedings at IRC, claiming that he had been constructively dismissed despite the fact that he never resigned from employment.
But the AG’s office disputed the claims.
Then, in April 2020, Makileni withdrew his claims.
“Following withdrawal of the case, there existed no other case for which a consent order could have been signed and endorsed by the court,” the application reads.
However, on July 22 2020, the court endorsed a consent order which was purportedly signed by Makileni and the then AG.
“The consent order was executed under the belief that Makileni was no longer receiving his salary and benefits from the Malawi government when in fact he was still on government payroll enjoying salaries and benefits,” the application. indicates
It then accuses Makileni of falsely stating that the Office of President and Cabinet had approved figures in the consent order.
In his remarks, Makileni’s lawyer Paul Maulidi said he saw no problem with the previous consent order as it was seen and signed by both the former and current AG.
“For your own information, we have been called to negotiate further based on the same consent order; so, I don’t think, if it were a faulty order, we would have been invited to discuss based on the same,” Maulidi said.
Eric Msikiti is a Senior Reporter/News Producer at Times Group. Though relatively young, Eric boasts years of experience in Malawi’s media industry.