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Dalitso Kabambe demands K2.3 billion from Reserve Bank of Malawi

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Former Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor Dalitso Kabambe has dragged the central bank and Attorney General (AG) to the Industrial Relations Court, demanding K2.3 billion for unlawful and unfair dismissal.

In an application, filed on March 29 by lawyers T.F & Partners and classified as matter number IRC LL156 of 2021, Kabambe claims that, during his term as RBM Governor, he was entitled to remuneration of K30,243,023.16 per month, comprising K25,697,042 basic salary, K1,067,156.98 transport allowance, K550,939.56 domestic allowance and K2,927,884.62 board allowance.

Kabambe, who was fired on July 7 last year, says the K2.3 billion is his entitlement in form of salary and benefits for the remainder of his term from April 21 2017 to April 20 2028.

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In addition, Kabambe is claiming pension benefits for the period between 1997 and April 21 2017, severance pay for serving Malawi Government, notice pay for serving Malawi Government, pension benefits for serving the Malawi Government, and payment of terminal benefits and gratuity for the period between 1998 and April 2017.

He is also claiming the sum of K604,860,463.20 as damages for being stopped from finishing the terms; the sum of K1,814,581,389.60 as damages for a further five-year term from 2022 to 2028, and an order that RBM pay-loss of motor vehicle BU 9606 be assessed

According to the application, President Lazarus Chakwera appointed Wilson Banda as RBM Governor on July 7 when Kabambe’s contract was subsisting.

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Kabambe says, on July 17 2020, Secretary to the President and Cabinet wrote him, advising him of his de-secondment back to the Civil Service.

“The said de-secondment was being done after his service as governor had been terminated. The application was dismissed without any fault on his part and he is entitled to benefits in terms of Clause 8 (i) of the contract of employment.

“The applicant’s contract was terminated contrary to the provisions of Section 10(2) of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Act and on an inquiry [that] was held in terms of Section 11 of the same said Act. The government appointed Dr Wilson Banda as Governor when there was no vacancy in the Office of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi in terms of Section 12 of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Act,” the application reads.

The application further states that Kabambe was entitled to a renewal of his term as RBM Governor for a further term of five years from April 20 2022, and that he was entitled to use and purchase motor vehicle number BU 9606 at the expiry of his term and use the same for the remainder of the period.

But, in responses filed at the court, the AG— who is the second respondent in the matter— says the terms of secondment, according to the Malawi Public Service Regulations, are that a civil servant can be seconded to a statutory corporation of other non-government body where exigencies of that office dictate.

The AG argues that, when a civil servant is seconded, he or she, for all purposes, remains a civil servant governed by the terms and conditions applicable to civil servants and that Kabambe never ceased to be a civil servant when he was seconded to RBM.

“The 2nd respondent further avers that the contract between the applicant and 1st respondent which was concluded on 21 April 2017 was superseded by the Applicant’s secondment instructions on 28 April 2017. Therefore the 2nd respondent will prove at trial that the contract alleged by the applicant is void ab initio,” the response reads.

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