HARARE – Former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) finance director Robert Mangwiro — who was dismissed by the State tax agency after being found guilty on 21 of the 33 counts of misconduct — has approached the Labour Court challenging the sacking.
Mangwiro, who was dismissed with effect from October last year, is challenging the dismissal claiming the conviction was made in error.
According to a letter dated May 5, 2017 written to his lawyer Taona Sibanda, the disciplinary committee, said that a dismissal was appropriate in light of the conviction.
“You are therefore dismissed from employment for carrying out acts, which are inconsistent with the express or implied conditions of your contract of employment, as articulated in the committee’s verdict communicated to you by way of a letter dated April 20, 2017.
“Your dismissal is with effect from October 21, 2016, the date of your suspension from employment,” the letter reads.
According to the letter, Mangwiro was only allowed to appeal by approaching the Labour Court in terms of Section 92D of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01).
Mangwiro approached the Labour Court on appeal last Thursday, challenging the findings of the Disciplinary and Grievance Committee.
“The grounds of appeal upon which this appeal is based are that: the tribunal erred in fact and in law in a manner repugnant with logic by investigating, condemning and convicting the appellant (Mangwiro) for allegations that fell outside his contract employment as read with the company policy and further sentencing and convicting the appellant for allegations that were evidently outside appellant’s jurisdiction as finance director and whose suspects were named and known,” Mangwiro said.
He further told the court that the principle of fairness was violated as he became a victim of targeted prosecution, in contravention of the principles of natural justice and equality before the law.
“The tribunal a quo erred at law and in fact in a manner that was repugnant with logic by taking inconsistent and vacillating positions on the objectivity and validity of the audit report.
“The tribunal upheld the objectivity of the audit report on the one hand and went on to abandon its recommendations on the other hand thereby making the conviction of the appellant unjustified and corrupted,” he said.
He denied ever acting in complicity with any of his seniors, arguing that he only acted on instructions.
“The appellant should have been taken as an employee who approved based on his boss’s representation on the transaction being a business transaction as opposed to a personal transaction. On the amounts paid through the visa card, there was no evidence of the risk of non-recovery by Zimra,” Mangwiro said.
He also said that the tribunal was wrong to find him guilty on several counts that related to activities that fell within the Human Resources, Administrative and the Commissioner General’s office.
“The appellant could not be found guilty for acts that fell outside his office or job description. These offences were misplaced and must fail,” he said.
He is now seeking an order for his acquittal and reinstatement, without any loss of benefits or if reinstatement is no longer possible, Mangwiro is demanding up-to-date back pay and benefits.