Anti-graft body to lose property worth $1m

HARARE - The Anti-Graft body is set to lose property worth $1,5 million, after the court ordered it to pay its 26 workers following a protracted labour dispute.

“You are required and directed to attach and take into execution the movable goods of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)… and of the same cause to be realised the sum of $1 530 624, 30, which the claimants recovered by judgement of this honourable court dated 17th October 2013,” reads part of a writ of execution seen by the Daily News.

This comes after Labour Court president Lilian Kudya ordered the anti-corruption body to comply with an order to pay its workers.

Kudya said the anti-graft body was in contempt of the law, after failing to comply with an arbitral award.
The order was given after Zacc approached the Labour Court, seeking to nullify an arbitral award that had been ruled in favour of the organisation’s 26 employees.

The arbitral award was handed down after Servious Kufandada and 25 other employees through their lawyers from J Mambara and Partners took their employer to court over unfair labour practice following an alleged variation of their employment contracts and the absence of conditions of service.

The commission has been in a long dispute with its workers, with court documents showing that the contract signed by the employees was such that they were entitled to a housing allowance, transport allowance, cell phone 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.

The commission has been riddled with controversy, after some of the commissioners were arrested and brought before the courts for misusing the body’s funds — raising questions about its credibility.

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. 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,” Kudya said.

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.

However, a writ issued yesterday settled the issue, after giving an order for the attachment of the commission’s property.

“Further pay to the said Claimants of their Legal Practitioners the sum or sums due to them with costs,” the writ reads. Some of the properties that are likely going to be auctioned include number 872 Betterment Close Mt Pleasant and number 5 Golda Avenue, Mabelreign.

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