Finance Bank workers sue Mahtani

About 300 former and serving Finance Bank employees have sued Chairman Rajan Mahtani for allegedly swindling them out of millions of Kwacha through a pension scheme that has since been abolished and replaced with another one without their knowledge.

The workers claim that the Bank had been deducting money from their salaries and remitting to a Non-Contribution Voluntary Fund but that money had since disappeared through what they suspect could be money laundering activities in the institution.

A witness in the case, Mr Simata Simata told the Lusaka High Court that the Non-Voluntary Contribution Fund was established in 1993 and was actively running until when there was a sudden formation of another Fund which was not communicated to the workers.

Mr Simata told Justice Banda Bobo that the Non-Voluntary Contribution Fund was created to take care of the welfare of employees after they retired from the institution.

He told the court that he could not join the Voluntary Contribution Fund because for many years he had been a member of the Non-Voluntary Contribution Fund.

Mr Simata said that Finance Bank would erratically honour its obligation of paying retired workers their contribution through the Non-Voluntary Contribution and that the dead were never paid.

Through their action the workers have alleged that Dr Mahtani used his Lease Finance company, a sister company of the bank to siphon money from the Fund meant for workers pension and other welfare funds to benefit himself.

They claimed that when they inquired about the money, Dr Mahtani told them that it had been used to sign two guarantees, Nachala Enterprises and Namilundu for his Lease Finance Company which he did without informing the workers.

The workers allege that there are attempts to cover up the disappearance of the money from Non-Contribution Voluntary Fund by creating another fund called Voluntary Contribution Fund.

The creation of the new fund is believed to have been established so as to fraudulently erase the contribution the workers had been making to Non-Voluntary Contribution Fund since 1993 and the workers feel the action was an attempt to swindle them out of their money.

The Voluntary Contribution Fund which was formed in 1999 and was not communicated to the workers who had over the years been contributing to the Non-Voluntary Contribution Fund.