The Attorney General sent an appeal to the High Court last Thursday on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, regarding last week’s decision in favour of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) concerning civil servant salaries.
Last Tuesday the Civil Court ruled in favour of the CSC in their suit against the Ministry of Finance regarding civil servants’ salaries, which were reduced in October last year. Although the court ruled in favour of the CSC, they did not specify whether the ministry had to restore civil servant salaries.
Speaking to Minivan News last week, member of the CSC Mohamed Fahmy Hassan said he was “confident the Finance ministry will give the salaries as we requested,” after which members of the CSC and the ministry met last Thursday to discuss the issue.
Today Fahmy said they were “very surprised” when they received instruction from the High Court “not to take any action [regarding the salaries] until they have made a decision.”
He said last week, the Finance Ministry “were very positive and we did not think they had any intention to appeal.”
Fahmy said the issue of salary restoration will again be put on hold until the High Court makes its decision. “I don’t know how long this is going to take,” he said. “It depends on whether any party appeals to the Supreme Court.”
He noted the CSC was not planning on appealing the case yet, but it was a possibility which would be looked at depending on how the AG’s appeal process was going.
“This is a very clear case,” Fahmy said, “civil servants cannot be singled out. There are many other staff paid by the government.”
Fahmy noted the CSC would continue with this case “until it is resolved or a decision is made by the highest authority.”
He added the continued reduction of civil servants’ salaries was “against the Constitution.”
Attorney General Husnu Suood said his office was “speaking against points of law involved in the judgement.” Basically, “we are not happy with the interpretation [of the law]” made by the Civil Court last week, he said.
“The interpretation of the law is not correct,” he stated.
Suood said his office along with the Ministry of Finance and the CSC were having “discussions as to how we should proceed with judgement passed by the Civil Court.”
He said although it was “too early to say” whether civil servants would have their salaries restored soon, he was “very hopeful that it will be settled outside of court.”
Suood reiterated the point that they wanted to settle the matter outside of the court system, and this appeal was only meant to speak against the Civil Court’s ruling.
Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair said “in this kind of scenario when they can’t agree,” the appeal is meant to give the Ministry of Finance more time to resolve the issue with the CSC out of court.
He noted Parliament still has not yet passed any of the bills which would provide the government enough revenue to surpass the needed Rf7 billion to restore civil servants’ salaries.
“We will not reach it this year,” Zuhair said, “no bills have been discussed in the house.”
He added the CSC “has no right to demand higher pay” when the government’s revenue is still not beyond the stipulated Rf7 billion.