Judge Bobo recuses herself from former defence chiefs case

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LUSAKA High Court judge Anessie Banda-Bobo has recused herself from handling a case where General Peter Zuze and 11 other former defence chiefs have sued the state, alleging that they have been excluded from receiving their retirement benefits from the Public Service Pension Fund.

In this case, Gen Zuze and 11 other retired defence chiefs, among them General Malimba Masheke, General Kingsley Chinkuli and Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha, have cited the Attorney General for excluding them from receiving their retirement benefits.

Other former defence chiefs in this litigation are Lt Gen Benjamin Mibenge, Lt Gen Francis Sibamba, General Nobby Simbeye, Lt Gen Herbert Simutowe, Maj Gen Tom Fara and Lt Gen Solomon Mumbi who retired between January 1980 and February 1999.

And former directors general for special division W Phiri and Paul Malukutila were also excluded from receiving their pension.

The matter was allocated to judge Banda-Bobo but she wrote to acting judge-in-charge Mwiinde Siavwapa, stating that she personally knew one of the applicants.

“I personally know one of the applicants in this matter and prior to the same being allocated to me, he had broached the issue with me. I feel that it would not be prudent for me to deal with this case. I seek your indulgence and request that I be allowed to recuse myself from handling it,” read judge Banda-Bobo’s memorandum to judge Siavwapa.

And judge Siavwapa has re-allocated the matter to judge Fulgence Chisanga.

The ex-defence chiefs had submitted in the High Court principal registry on November 5 that the government’s action to exclude them from the Public Service Pension Scheme Cap 260 of the Laws of Zambia and the Public Service Management Division (PMSD) circular number B six of 2006, was unfair.

Gen Zuze argued on behalf of the others that they were members of the Public Service Pension Fund and that there was trite law that there was no statutory limitation in their claims from the pensions’ fund.

“It was surprising that when the recommendations were being implemented, we were excluded from the scheme amounting to unfair treatment and discrimination. The Public Service Management Division circular B six of 2006, is discriminatory by leaving out the initiators of their own effort in improving the retiring benefits of the ex-service chiefs,” submitted the applicants.

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