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Former staff lawyers sue Boko over pay

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  • Lawyers drag Boko to court over pay
  • Accuse Boko’s wife of dithering

TEFO PHEAGE

Attorneys who used to work for Advocate Duma Boko’s reputable law firm have taken the company to the Industrial Court over unpaid salaries and severance and leave pay, The Botswana Gazette has established.

The two lawyers, who asked to remain anonymous, have now established their own law firm. They are demanding a cumulative amount of over P100 000 from Boko’s firm, accusing it of playing hide-and-seek with their hard-earned money.

In their court papers, the lawyers say the firm leadership – which is led by Boko’s wife, Kaone – has withheld their salaries for their last month with the firm without providing reasons. Both lawyers say they are also owed for leave days pay while one is yet to receive severance pay.

They accuse the firm of not even bothering to attend labour dispute resolution meetings, hence their decision to escalate the matter to the Industrial Court.

One of the pair, who was with the firm since 2015, says in papers before court that since leaving the firm in 2018, his/her due severance pay was never paid and has never had access to her leave record to-date.“Ordinarily the records would have been instrumental in quickly ascertaining the leave days due to the applicant in so far as it relates to the mathematical computations,” reads the applicant’s court documents.

The aggrieved lawyer says the firm has counted his/her sick leave days as part of her leave days. She further accuses the firm of taxing all her terminal benefits despite the law stipulating that only two thirds of the amount due and payable to him/her can be taxed.

“The respondent being a company that is in excellent financial standing, one of the highest repute, has no reason not to have paid the applicant her terminal benefits. In fact, one dare state that the respondent has been frivolous and vexatious in their delaying tactics, from January 2019 to May 2019, a record five months later,” reads the application from Manyapedza Attorneys who are representing the aggrieved lawyer.

In their response to the suit, Duma Boko and Company say they have not agreed to the demands of the applicant because his/her miscalculations of leave and severance pay. They argue that he/she is not entitled to what he/she claims to be entitled to. Regarding the salary for the last month, the firm says the applicant did not work for the month as he/she was on a long sick leave and is thus not entitled to any payment for the said month.

The firm admits not paying severance pay and last month’s (November 2018) salary for one of the two but does not explain why it withheld his/her dues. The firm only objects to his/her computation of leave days.

The two cases are before Industrial Court judges Isaac Bahuma and Gaedupe Makgato respectively.

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