Three years of fighting government for her dues have finally earned former clerk of Parliament (CoP) Matilda Katopola K70 million ($125,000) in compensation in an out-of-court settlement for unfair dismissal.
However, the amount is barely 10 percent of her whopping K736 million ($1,314,285) claim.
In an interview on Monday, senior State advocate Mada Kausi confirmed the amount settled for by the two parties.
But Kausi could not give details of factors considered to arrive at the K70 million amount.
Reads the assessment document The Nation has seen: “And whereas before the appeal has been disposed of by mutual agreement, the parties agreed [that] the appellant [government] do pay the respondent [Katopola] the sum of K70 million to settle the claims.
“That upon satisfying the respondent’s claims against the appellant here in shall stand finally and fully resolved.”
Katopola’s lawyer, Powell Nkhutabasa, refused to comment on the development, saying: “I don’t want to say anything, please.”
In her claim initially filed at the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in 2012, Katopola sought compensation for constructive dismissal, unfair dismissal and unlawful labour practices.
In a summary of her benefits for 10 years, Katopola claimed K71 million for interdiction from February 1 2015 to January 31 2020 and K311 million from February 1 2020 to January 31 2025.
The IRC ruled in her favour, but government appealed against the decision in the High Court.
However, later the two parties—Katopola and government—agreed to settle the matter out of court earlier this year.
In her letter early this year, Katopola said government’s conduct has ruined her career and lessened any prospects for a successful future employment.
She said: “I am jobless, penniless and going through a lot of psychological torture due to the damage the respondent has caused to my public image after serving selflessly with commitment and dedication though under political pressure and intimidation.”
During her court appearances last year, Katopola declined to return to her position even after former president Joyce Banda refused to fire her because the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and the then speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda had already made the decision to dismiss her.
Since her appointment in 2005 by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika as the first female CoP, Katopola faced pressure from some members of Parliament (MPs) to leave office.
Sources said at the time she became unpopular among the legislators for reportedly introducing strict financial controls. n