By GIDEON NYENDWA
FORMER Barclays Bank employees have applied to the High Court for the police to enforce the law and arrest, prosecute trustees and fund managers of the Barclays Bank Zambia plc staff pension fund for alleged fraud.
According to an application for leave to commence judicial review filed on May 14, 2021, the applicants are seeking an order for mandamus for the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to make a decision of the arrest and prosecution of the trustees and fund managers of the Barclays Bank of Zambia plc staff pension fund who served between 1997 and 2021 namely Pricewaterhouse officers, PIA officers, senior Barclays Bank officers and the unregistered committee that signed the MoU and finally to recover pension.
Mr Philemon Nyirenda and 50 others are seeking judicial recourse on grounds of irrationality in that it is irrational for the police and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) as investigative wings of the executive to fail to pursue a case that has been understood to be involving fraud and where a High Court judge observed and advised the executive wing to pursue the same.
According to the applicants, they had made it easy for the law enforcement officers to pursue the issue by providing them with both evidence and witnesses for easy prosecution of the matter.
“The ground of irrationality is relied upon because the evidence presented to law enforcement officers is overwhelming, but they have developed cold feet in pursuing the same,” the applicants have said.
They have also submitted that, “it is trite that the law is blind and it does not matter who breaks it, and consequences must duly follow without any delay.”
This matter emanates from a civil court action in the High Court before Justice Phillip Musonda, as he was then referred to, in which Barclays Bank set up a staff pension scheme which was placed under trustees.
However, the same pension fund was never registered as prescribed by the Pension Scheme Regulations Act No. 1996 sections 8(1) and 44.
The applicants claim that because the pension was not registered, it was subjected to several fraudulent activities and when time for payment of pensions came, the beneficiaries were underpaid and some deleted or excluded from the Fund.