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High Court reinstates Binga RDC chair

THE High Court has reinstated Binga Rural District Council chairperson Wilson Siampolomba, who had been suspended by Local Government minister July Moyo.

High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba nullified the suspension letter handed to Siampolomba on March 17 last year.

Siampolonga had approached the court challenging the notice and argued that he could not be placed on suspension for a second time as the 45 days in which a hearing was supposed to be conducted had passed.

He further argued that the notice was infringing on his rights to a fair hearing.

In his application, he had cited Moyo together with Attorney General Prince Machaya as the respondents.

According to the application, Siampolonga was placed on forced suspension on December 9, 2019 by Moyo after he was accused of gross misconduct.

"On the 9th of December 2019, the first respondent (Moyo) authored a letter to the applicant placing him on suspension.  

"A summary of the allegations against the applicant is that he claimed transport allowances on two different dates and yet he used a council vehicle; he unilaterally stopped a council meeting; he misused the council logo through the use of letterheads and that he used the guest house of the council for non-council business thus causing financial prejudice," Siampolonga had submitted

He further alleged that he had received no response to his letter that he had addressed to Moyo informing him that he could not appear before a tribunal that would convene on March 13, 2020 as the legal practitioner, who was in charge of the case, was unavailable.

Moyo reportedly issued another letter to Siampolonga advising him that his suspension had been lifted before issuing him a second notice of suspension.

"On the 18th of March 2020, the applicant was served with a letter dated the 31st of January from the 1st Respondent stating that the suspension as per the letter dated the 9th of December 2019 had been lifted.

"The letter qualified the lifting of the suspension in that the applicant was advised that he was not exonerated from the allegations levelled against him.

"By the way of a letter dated the 17th of March 2020, the 1st Respondent authored another letter to the applicant placing him on suspension on allegations similar to those in the letter dated December 9 2019."

In delivering her judgment, Justice Chirawu-Mugomba noted that Moyo could not issue a second notice of suspension that is based on similar allegations.

"In view of the findings, it follows that the ‘second' suspension of the applicant by the 1st Respondent by way of letter dated the 17th of March 2020 on the same allegations as in the letter dated the 9th of December 2019 is a nullity," she ruled.

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