By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
DESPERATE retirees being left unpaid for over 20 years with some having died while the matter was still in court was a moral issue which needs to be addressed urgently, Forum for Democracy and Development president, Edith Nawakwi has said.
She accused the press of neglecting the plight of poor people including the missing Hatembo siblings.
Ms Nawakwi said the legal matter involving pensioners has been dragging in courts, crisscrossing between the higher courts and the lower courts but without any tangible outcome, while the victims succumbed to death and led miserable lives as perpetrators led luxurious lives.
The retirees include ex-Konkola Copper Mines employees, BP ex-employees, Barclays Bank ex-employees and many others who had schemes with pension fund companies affiliated to African Life Financial Services Limited in which Mr Hakainde Hichilema has major interests.
Ms Nawakwi said the contempt of court matter where she has been sued by African Life Financial Services Limited was part of the scheme that was depriving pensioners their money and intended to gag them.
This is in a matter where African Life have sought leave of the Lusaka High Court that Ms Nawakwi be sent to prison for contempt.
The company in a statement supporting application for leave to apply for order of committal stated that the matter between it and Mr Dickson Mtonga and 22 others is still active in court and it is yet to determine whether or not it is liable to pay the 23 Anglo-American workers the sum of US$300, 000 or any sum at all.
However, on or about February 6, 2021, Ms Nawakwi is alleged to have made utterances at a press briefing through which she allegedly misrepresented the facts in such a manner as to make it look as though African Life, is liable to pay Mr Mtonga and others US$300, 000 and other monies, which is a matter pending in court.
Addressing journalists yesterday after appearing in court, Ms Nawakwi insisted that she was not served with the documents.
She alleged that she has never been served with court documents.
She said that the cases involving pensioners have not yielded any positive results because of lawyers who can juggle files in the High Court.
Ms Nawakwi said it was unfortunate that the media and the nation have forgotten about the plight of Ms Pheluna Hatembo and her brother Milton who are suffering simply because they are voiceless.
“I can commit contempt every week, every day until get to Mukobeko,” she said.