By NATION REPORTER
FORMER BP Zambia Plc retirees have objected to the participation of the managers of the Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Fund, Benefits Consulting Services Limited in the ongoing assessment of their pension benefits in the Zambian High Court.
According to an Affidavit filed in response to an Affidavit in Opposition to the Affidavit in Support of Summons to assess pension benefits, the former BP Zambia Plc workers have stated that Benefits Consulting Services Limited cannot assess their benefits because they were not qualified Actuaries but mere managers of the Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Fund.
“The order of the Supreme Court of Zambia Judgment of 18 December 2018 is that only a qualified Actuary appointed by the Registrar should compute the pension benefits of the plaintiffs,” the Affidavit states.
In the Affidavit in Opposition to the Affidavit in Supports of Summons filed last year on 18 June 2019, the Puma Energy Human Resources Manager Caroline Moyo states that the “Defendant with the help of Bencon has undertaken a surgical analysis with regard to the Plaintiffs’ claims and has come up with a detailed report which sets out detailed amounts due to each employee in line with the judgment of this honourable court.”
The Affidavit in Opposition also states that as a result of the factors stated, the Benefits Consulting Services Limited computation put the total entitlement for all the 236 Plaintiffs at ZMW1,488,622. (Kwacha One Million, Four Hundred and Eighty-Eight Thousand and Six Hundred and Twenty-Two) only.
But the Affidavit in Response to the Affidavit in Opposition filed by lead Plaintiff Expendito Chipasha Chipalo states that the estimated Pension Benefits for all the Plaintiffs was ZMW 820,215,600.00 (Kwacha Eight Hundred and Twenty Million Two Hundred and Fifteen Thousand and Six Hundred only)
“But it is up to the Actuary to determine the final figure,” Chipalo states in the Affidavit in response filed on 28 February 2020.
The former BP Zambia Plc now Puma Energy Zambia went to court in July 2002 and the High Court of Zambia passed judgment in their favour in October 2010. The company appealed the judgment but the Supreme Court of Zambia upheld the judgment in favour of the former employees save for the substitution of penal interest with 40 per cent from date of retirement to date of judgment and 25 per cent to date of settlement.
The matter first went for assessment in 2015 and Benefits Consulting Services Limited joined the matter to testify against the former employees although it owed them a fiduciary duty. Bencon at the time stated that the Plaintiffs’ total entitlement was ZMW1.26 million but the Deputy Registrar’s assessment put the total entitlement at ZMW26.2
The assessment judgment was passed in favour of the employees in April 2016 and the company appealed for the second time to the Supreme Court which then referred the matter back to assessment under a qualified Actuary as stipulated under Order XXIII of the Rules of the High Court.
The current assessment which is scheduled for continued hearing on March 30 and 31 2020 is the second assessment of the same claim and according to the judgment of the Supreme Court of Zambia which sat in Ndola on December 18 2018, the Registrar must appoint a qualified Actuary to compute the benefits.
By NATION REPORTER