Govt challenges Katopola Malawi's Clerk of Parliament
Tussling continues in a labour dispute between Malawi’s Clerk of Parliament (CoP) Matilda Katopola and her employers, as the State has made a counter-claim against her earlier applications, leaving the case to go for full trial.
Katopola wants the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, to declare that the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) constructively fired her and should compensate her accordingly.
During a pre-trial hearing Tuesday afternoon before IRC assistant registrar Brian Katimba, both parties agreed that the case goes into trial after the Attorney General’s office, which is representing PSC, filed for counter-arguments on Katopola’s applications.
“The AG’s office has responded to the claimant’s applications that she was dismissed, which we deny in its totality; by way of filing counter-arguments against her applications. The applicant has absconded duties for no good reason despite being recalled,” said acting chief State advocate Dr. Zolomphi Nkowani.
This was after Katopola, through her new legal counsel, presented six relief grounds substantiating her claim that she was unfairly dismissed.
“My client was constructively dismissed and, therefore, claiming damages for unfair dismissal, claiming compensation for using unfair labour practices, severance pay and all terminal benefits”, said Mercy Mulele, who has taken over Katopola’s case.
In an interview outside the courtroom, Nkowani said: “the State has made a counter-claim because Katopola is still the CoP but she has been absconding her duties. Details of this will be made available in the files during the trial.
“However, I must say that we are going to amend our defence points in order to add more substance to our arguments.”
Mulele declined to talk to the press after the case was adjourned for trial at a date to be agreed by both sides.
On July 26 2012, Katopola filed a case at the IRC, asking the court to declare her as having been constructively dismissed and that the conduct of the PSC amounted to unfair labour practices.