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Court suspends ombudsman ruling

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Martha Chizuma

By Deogratias Mmana:

The Industrial Relations Court (IRC) sitting in Lilongwe has stopped Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) from terminating contracts of employees who were recommended for sacking by the Ombudsman.

IRC Chairperson Austin Msowoya gave the injunction in chambers on June 28 2021, in case number IRC 512 of 2021 between applicants Daniel Datchi, Godfrey Itaye and others and Macra.

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On May 10 2021, former Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, who is now Anti- Corruption Bureau Director- General (DG), released a report that exposed maladministration at Macra and recommended the firing of some officers including former DG Godfrey Itaye, technical adviser Benson Tembo, among other officials.

Macra has since advertised the positions.

However, the court has ordered Macra to treat the employees as having gone on leave at half pay and that they should continue getting privileges such as medical scheme services— including those for their spouses and dependents— but not any social or recreational privileges.

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The employees have also been ordered to surrender motor vehicles assigned to them to the court within 24 hours of the delivery of the order until the matter is concluded and that the vehicles should be stored at High Court premises at Chichiri in Blantyre City.

“The respondent’s decision to terminate the employment of every applicant in these proceedings as consolidated is hereby stayed until resolution of this suit or until a further order of this court, whichever comes first,” the order reads.

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