He stepped in and served the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-administration from July 2014 to last July this year, defending government with dedication on numerous claims from various private companies, local and international, and individuals.
Would the former Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale turn his guns on the same administration he defended by dragging it to court as a means to force government that hardly settles payments timely?Kaphale: It’s been 50 days since my contract expired
Government is yet to pay the former AG his terminal and other benefits—running in undisclosed millions of kwacha—two months after his contract expired on June 30 this year and left employment.
Sources within Treasury and Accountant General offices fear the former AG may opt to sue government considering the delays that are always there in paying out employees that leave office.
But Kaphale, who confirmed in an interview that he wrote government to remind it about his terminal and other benefits, which he said he was not receiving when he was serving, dismissed suggestions that he may sue.
“It is not at the back of my mind to sue. I wrote government, through Chief Secretary, with copies to Secretary to the Treasury and Accountant General, just to remind them that they need to sort this out.
“Government is big machinery and I know it may not only be me. There are several other people it is supposed to sort out. But what I am saying in my case is that, look, the seven-day period allowed for settlement of terminal dues under the Employment Act had expired,” Kaphale said, adding it was not a threat to sue.
The former AG said it is more than 50 days since his contract expired, arguing it is always appropriate for the concerned offices to start processing terminal dues before officers leave office.
He said his letter to Chief Secretary was dated July 25, a month after the contract expired and he was told early August that they were working on it.
Kaphale could not disclose the actual figure he is claiming, saying he had not aggregated it as some claims were subject to possible negotiation.
The former AG said: “However, I gave government an indication as to my heads of claim and possible quantum. Government says it is considering my representations and will revert to me.”
Kaphale said apart from the claim for terminal dues, there were other claims he has made which were part of his benefits but he was not receiving when he was serving.
The Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara could not pick his mobile phone from Wednesday, and when he did yesterday and after being informed about the matter and asked what government was doing about it, he cut the line.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology, who is also government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, said in an interview yesterday that he needed to consult on the matter and would revert, but by press time, he had not come back to us.
Davies Sado, spokesperson in the Treasury, whose office was copied by Kaphale, said in an interview yesterday such communications go directly to Secretary to the Treasury who was not readily available in the office.
Sado, however, said the nature of the matter was for Department of Human Resource and Management.
A senior government official confided to us that the development where the former AG had to write government to put his claim is embarrassing to government, especially coming from a top legal adviser to the same government whose role was to defend government on various issues, including such issues when they come to court.
The senior government official said such issues when they come in public domain take away the decorum of running State affairs.
Kaphale became the first AG to serve President Peter Mutharika’s administration after Mutharika claimed victory in the May 2014 Tripartite Elections. He was appointed from private practice as a lawyer to replace Anthony Kamanga.