Private school director Joseph Patemba begs for pro-bono legal aid in compensation case

By Munkhondia Mwamakura II

Director of Royal Private Schools Limited also known as Oasis Private Schools in Mzuzu, Joseph Patemba, wants an attorney to represent him for free in a case his employees are demanding about K1.2 million in unpaid salaries and damages.

Patemba signalled for the need in an affidavit he swore, signed and made available to the Mzuzu Industrial Court on 30 September 2021, requesting the court to initially suspend a default judgment before he solicited defence against the demands.

The director excused for his silence on the court summons that when he first received the claims against him, he appointed CHRAM Associates, a legal firm and instructed them to defend him.

“For reasons I don’t know the CHRAM Associates did not file the statement of defense within 14 days as prescribed by rules of this court and the court entered default judgment in favour of the applicants,” Patemba said.

In an interview, CHRAM Associates’ director Christon Ghambi said it is unfortunate that Patemba is saying all that when did not pay the law firm.

Employees are claiming about 1.2 million salary arrears, redress on constructive dismissal and gratuity from Patemba who fired them all on 2 August, 2021 after they begged him to pay them any amount of cash to sustain their homes as they waited for the whole pay.

Malawi24 has also found that Joseph Patemba is a serial oppressor as there are records indicating that 12 employees took him to court in 2017 on related claims.

Royal Private Schools Limited’s director Joseph Patemba, who is husband to one of the renowned high profile judges Agnes Patemba, is also the director of a human rights group, Sub-Saharan Child and Community Development Trust ( SACCODE- Trust).