David Simusamba, the principal resident magistrate for Lusaka, is upset about the way he was let go and has now filed a lawsuit in the High Court to reverse the decision.
Mr. Simusamba, who was removed of his duties for allegedly being away from work for more than ten days, claims that his summary dismissal in December of last year was unfair and illegal, incorrect.
He claims that this is the case since the disciplinary actions that led up to his dismissal were a fraud and didn’t follow the laws of natural justice.
The complainant claims that the disciplinary proceedings also had a predetermined outcome to drive him out of the judiciary and has cited the Attorney General in support of this claim.
According to court documents, Mr. Simusamba claims that from March 10, 2019 to December 31, 2021, he will serve in a higher position as registrar in the Family and Children’s Division of the High Court. On May 12, 2007, he was employed in the judiciary as a magistrate class I. He later advanced to the ranks of principal resident magistrate.
“My terms and conditions of service were provided for in the terms and conditions of service in the public service and by various circulars released from time to time and collective agreements agreed from time to time,” he submits.
He had the responsibility of completely operationalizing the family and children’s division in 2019 and making sure that the registrar’s position and other support positions were put on the payroll.
According to his argument, he was entitled to an acting allowance equivalent to the difference between his substantive wage and that of a principal resident magistrate under the terms and conditions of his employment.
The complainant was summoned to a meeting after serving as registrar for almost four years and the same post eventually being placed on the payroll on January 16, 2022.
The complainant received a letter of demotion dated December 30, 2021 at the meeting arranged by the Judiciary Chief Administrator Nalishebo Imataa and the then-acting Chief Registrar Paul Chisha.
He was being sent back to the Lusaka magistrate’s court complex and demoted to the status of principal resident magistrate, according to the letter.
“I wrote administrative appeal letter to the Chief Justice and copied in my supervisors to re-consider the decision to demote me and transfer me and provided good and sufficient reasons,” he submits.
The complainant said that he remained working at the family division under the supervision of Ms. Imataa and Mr. Chisha while he awaited an answer.
Yet in January of last year, he received an absenteeism charge letter from Dominic Makalicha, the acting chief resident magistrate for Lusaka who was not his supervisor, while he was still awaiting the outcome of the administrative appeal.
In the letter, it was claimed that he was away from work without authorization for a stretch of at least 10 days between December 30, 2021, and January 31, 2022. He claims that claim is false because he always showed up for work at his then-current office.