The Law Association of Zambia has warned that it will take legal action against all former ministers and their deputies refusing to pay back the money they illegally received after the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the 2016 general election.
LAZ President Abyudi Shonga says the legal steps will include instituting contempt of court proceedings and taking out appropriate writs of execution against the affected party.
He said in a statement that the ministers do not have an option but to pay back the money within 30 days.
“LAZ has welcomed the Ruling on Assessment by the Registrar of the Constitutional Court handed down on 7th December, 2020 in relation to the case involving the Ministers who illegally stayed in office in 2016. Through the said Ruling, state coffers will be boosted by a sum of about K4.2 million within the next 30 days. However, LAZ is deeply concerned with remarks circulating in the media attributed to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Honourable Jean Kapata in which the Honourable Minister is quoted as saying that she will not pay back the money as adjudged by the Court,” Mr Shonga said.
“Our concern stems from the fact that decisions emanating from our Courts of law should not, under any circumstances, be ignored or belittled. We do not expect citizens, let alone sitting Cabinet Ministers, to undermine the Judiciary or decisions handed down by courts of law. As LAZ, we wish to remind all the Ministers affected by the Judgment of the Constitutional Court that they do not have an option in the matter, but to abide by the decision of the court and pay back monies ordered to be paid within 30 days from the date of the assessment,” he said.
“LAZ warns all those ordered to pay back the duly assessed sums of money that LAZ will take every legal step possible to ensure that the Judgment of the Court is complied with. These steps will include citing those who undermine the court decision for contempt of court, and taking out appropriate writs of execution.”
Me. Shonga said LAZ will deploy all available options to ensure that every person, regardless of their standing in society, does not demean or undermine the sanctity of decisions of our courts.
“It must be stressed that everyone is duty bound to respect decisions of our courts of law. We therefore, call upon all the Ministers (as they then were) affected by the Constitutional Court’s decision to promptly comply to avoid the adverse consequences of the court’s coercive powers.”