Ministry sued over per diems

Ministry sued over per diems

MASERU – FOUR human resources and planning officials are suing the Ministry of Development Planning for over M89 278 which they say the ministry owes them in per diems.
The quartet, ’Matli Mputsoe, ’Mamotjoka Rampeta, Moeketsi Mohapi and Rethabile Tlebere say the ministry failed to pay them their per diems in full when they attended a seminar in China last year.

Mputsoe and Rampeta want to be paid M21 997 each while Mohapi and Tlebere demand M22 641 each.
They also want the cost of suit at attorney and client’s scale.
In an affidavit, the human resources manager Mputsoe told High Court judge Justice Molefi Makara that on April 19 last year he went to China with Mangose Motekase, ’Mamotjoka Rampeta to attend a seminar on human resources development and planning.

The seminar started on April 22 and ended on May 15.
Mputsoe and Rampeta’s subsistence allowance was supposed to be M28 692 each but they were only paid M21 997.
Mputsoe told Justice Makara that the principal secretary “approved that we should be paid accordingly but we were not paid hence our reasons for approaching the offices of our attorney of record”.

He says on July 11 last year their lawyers wrote a letter of demand to the principal secretary but the response was that “such payments can only be effected in the next financial year due to lack of funds in the current financial year”. Mputsoe says he does not believe that the ministry is broke.

“Being a human resource officer I am aware of many international trips that are being taken by some officers yet such trips were not budgeted for,” he told the judge.
In a letter they wrote to the principal secretary on June 14 last year they said they were paid their allowances at the rate of 10 percent instead of 25 percent as per the Ministry of Public Service Circular Notice No 8 of 2009.

“The measure to pay us at 10 percent instead of 25 percent subsistence allowance prejudices us to the effect that we were unable to cover incidental expenses in China on account of high cost of living as per stipulation of the circular,” the letter reads.
“The other reason, we have not received an explanation regarding this inconsistency of subsistence allowance. To worsen matters, other ministries have complied with the circular by paying 25 percent subsistence allowance.”

The High Court, having heard their reasons, ordered the Ministry to pay them on December 5 last year but the ministry did not pay despite the fact that it had money, according to Mputsoe.
He argued that the ministry paid some nine officers their allowances “three months after this court made an order”.
He accuses the principal secretary of deliberately disregarding the order because M9 million was returned from the financial year 2017/2018 back into the government financials unused despite it being allocated to the ministry.
Justice Makara heard the matter again in his chambers yesterday.
Judgment is expected before the end of this week.

Staff Reporter

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