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Chikomba Rural District Council’s Loss in Magwiroto Labour Dispute

Chikomba Rural District Council Loses Appeal, Ordered to Pay Fired Employee with Costs ,after a protracted legal battle, the Chikomba Rural District Council failed to overturn the reinstatement of an employee it had dismissed four years ago due to a financial error. The Labour Court dismissed the council’s appeal and ordered it to cover the costs.

The dismissed employee, Mr. Lawrence Magwiroto, had faced charges of fraud and was terminated following an internal hearing. However, he successfully appealed to the exemptions committee of the National Employment Council for Rural District Councils, which annulled the initial decision and reinstated him.

The council accused Mr. Magwiroto of mishandling funds, leading to charges of fraud. However, during the hearing, financial records showed discrepancies, including an “under-mastering” of US$250 on July 7, 2020, and an “over-mastering” of US$300 on July 11, 2020. This indicated that Mr. Magwiroto was accountable for the difference of US$50 as of July 11.

Despite the council’s allegations of fraudulent activity, the Labour Court questioned the logic behind falsifying financial records to indicate more money received than was actually deposited. Justice Lawrence Murasi, in his ruling, found no substance in the council’s appeal and dismissed it.

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Justice Murasi emphasized the importance of presenting evidence to support claims, noting that bald assertions without evidence cannot be considered as proven on a balance of probabilities. He highlighted the lack of evidence demonstrating Mr. Magwiroto’s intention to access deposited funds illicitly.

Furthermore, the council’s pleadings failed to provide evidence of fraudulent misrepresentation. Although Mr. Magwiroto recorded differing figures from the actual amounts deposited, the correct amounts were indeed processed through the Ecocash biller code.

The ruling stands as a testament to the necessity of substantiating claims with evidence in legal proceedings. Chikomba Rural District Council is now compelled to honor the court’s decision and cover the associated costs of the failed appeal.

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