A bitter exchange of words has ensued between the Voluntary Separatees Association of Zambia (VSAZ) and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) over payment of illegally deducted dues of former Government workers who went on voluntary retirement in 1999.
Three weeks ago, VSAZ General Secretary Simemeza Syachoke wrote to ZRA urging Revenue House to expedite the process of auditing the records of the 1,471 former retirees under Malipenga and Company so that they could be given their money.
In response ZRA Acting Commissioner General Bridgette Muyenga told VSAZ that their issue would only be considered after the conclusion of the case before the High Court in which some retirees had sued ZRA over their dues.
Ms. Muyenga advised VSAZ to halt their intended demonstrations last week until the issue was resolved and directed the association to stop writing to ZRA in its individual capacity but engage its lawyer if it had any queries with ZRA.
However, VSAZ has accused Ms. Muyenga of ignorance of the whole issue and advised her to consult people who understood the matter rather than misguiding herself by acting from a misinformed position.
In a letter dated 3rd September, 2015 addressed to Ms. Muyenga and copied to President Edgar Lungu and Lusaka Province Commissioner of police among others, Mr. Syachoke said VSAZ did not dispute the fact that there was a case in court involving the retirees but said the matter had nothing to do with the retirees under Malipenga and Company but those represented by other firms.
“Madam, we are not in dispute with matters that are before the court of law with different representation other than us on this matter. Bear in mind that we are not claiming from without; get the files and look at our correspondences between Malipenga and Company and your legal department and analyse the situation rather than responding ignorantly as you have responded to us in your letter,” Mr. Syachoke said.
He explained that ZRA had misrepresented its facts by contending that the figures from records that VSAZ had presented were wrong when the association had merely produced principle figures for further verifications.
“Madam, in your letter, you terribly misguided yourself to assume that our figures are wrong when we only produced the principle figures for your further verifications and possible agreement to resolve the matter amicably together with your office,” Mr Syachoke said.
He said since ZRA had decided to be adamant over the issue and had recklessly disregarded the earlier arrangement in which it was agreed that the retirees would receive their monies after the verification exercise, the protest which was halted last week would now go ahead on Thursday, September 17, 2015.
“Madam, our planned demonstration is unstoppable on 17th September, 2015, should your office fail to remit our moneys to our lawyers Messrs Malipenga and Company on or before 15th September 2015 as shown in the government vouchers we submitted through your legal department,” M r Syachoke said.
He said the letter that Ms. Muyenga wrote to the association was a mockery and that it came as a shock to the retirees whose dues the authority had withheld for 16 years for apparently no reason.