Anti-graft body ordered to pay $1,5m to workers

HARARE - A Labour Court president has ordered the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to comply with an order to pay its workers a collective amount of over  $1,5 million following a protracted dispute.

Zacc had approached the Labour Court seeking to nullify an arbitral award issued in favour of the organisation’s 26 employees.

However, Labour Court president Lilian Kudya said that the anti-graft body was in contempt of court after failing to comply with the arbitral award.

The arbitral award was handed down after Seviours Kufandada and 25 other employees accused their employer of unfair labour practice following an alleged variation of their employment contracts and the absence of conditions of service.

According to court documents, the contract signed by the employees was such that they were entitled to a housing allowance, transport allowance, cellphone allowance and provision of motor vehicles to officers without vehicles, a 13th cheque, anti-corruption allowance, group life cover, medical aid, risk allowance, education and school fees allowance.

In March this year, arbitrator Rodgers Matsikidze ruled in favour of the employees and awarded each of them various amounts ranging between $53 000 and $61 000.

Kudya ruled that the anti-graft body was approaching the court with dirty hands.

She said the commission was approaching the court without first seeking the setting aside of the arbitral award.

“In the instant case, the law is clear that an arbitral award is not suspended by the mere noting of an appeal to the Labour Court,” Kudya said.

“The arbitral award in question has not been suspended or stayed and to that extent the appellant (Zacc) is in breach of the law from which it seeks to get redress.”

She said the fact that the employees had applied for the registration of the award was not an issue for determination.

“The court is satisfied that the appellant is indeed in contempt of the law to that extent and cannot be entertained by this court.

“The appeal by the appellant is consequently struck off the roll for non-compliance in the respects set out by the points in limine,” she said.

 

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