ZACC re­in­states 8 fired of­fi­cers

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Felex Share Harare Bureau

THE Zim­babwe Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (ZACC) has re­in­stated eight of the 19 in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cers it re­cently sus­pended for al­leged cor­rup­tion, in­sub­or­di­na­tion and di­vulging the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s se­crets.

The re­main­ing 11 of­fi­cers, who all face sim­i­lar charges, are still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The eight, who were sus­pended for three months, were re­in­stated after serv­ing only six days of their sus­pen­sion rais­ing sus­pi­cions that se­nior man­agers at the anti-graft body could be vic­tim­is­ing the work­ers.

ZACC em­ploy­ees ar­gue that the vic­tim­i­sa­tion em­anates from their pur­suit of a labour case in which they won an ar­bi­tral award of $1,5 mil­lion for out­stand­ing al­lowances and ben­e­fits.

They also ac­cuse some man­agers, led by act­ing sec­re­tary Mr Si­las Pondo, of at­tempt­ing to block the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of some high pro­file cases.

Some of the se­nior ex­ec­u­tives at the com­mis­sion are al­leged to be in­volved in the high pro­file cases.

ZACC chair­per­son Dr Job Whabira con­firmed the re­in­state­ment of the eight of­fi­cers in let­ters dated Au­gust 5.

“Fol­low­ing your sus­pen­sion from duty on the 28th of July and sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tions car­ried out by the Com­mis­sion, it has been es­tab­lished that you have no case to an­swer with re­gard to the al­le­ga­tions,” reads the let­ter.

“Please be ad­vised that you are re­quired to re­sume duty with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. You have to no­tify the hu­man re­sources of­fice on your re­sump­tion of duty.”

ZACC spokesper­son Ms Phyl­lis Chikun­dura yes­ter­day said those re­in­stated were Matthew Sit­hole, Charles Sepe, Es­nath Kat­samba, Ru­faro Kun­yenda, So­neni Chav­izha, Ber­stern Matope, Masimba Vic­tor and Forbes Mupotsa.

“The oth­ers from the list of those sus­pended are still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she said. All the sus­pended work­ers are on salary. Sources yes­ter­day raised queries at the pace and man­ner in which the sus­pen­sions and re­in­state­ments were be­ing han­dled.

“In the July 28 let­ter the Com­mis­sion sent to the work­ers, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two par­ties was branded as un­ten­able and one won­ders how this un­sound re­la­tion­ship had changed overnight, in­side six days when these re­in­state­ment let­ters were writ­ten,” said the source.

“This is clear ev­i­dence that the al­le­ga­tions are un­founded and they sim­ply want to in­tim­i­date the work­ers to with­draw their court case and some­one is block­ing some­thing here. Re­mem­ber those who in­di­cated that they were not pur­su­ing the court case were spared from sus­pen­sion. The eight have been re­in­stated with­out any in­ves­ti­ga­tion or hear­ing as re­quired by the law and one won­ders rea­sons for their sus­pen­sion in the first place.”

The source said it was sur­pris­ing that the anti-graft body man­agers wanted to re­vive charges which some work­ers were cleared of by the pre­vi­ous com­mis­sion years back.

The July 28 sus­pen­sions came two days after the af­fected em­ploy­ees signed let­ters con­firm­ing to man­age­ment that they were pur­su­ing the $1,5 mil­lion ar­bi­tral award they won at the Labour Court in 2014.

ZACC act­ing sec­re­tary Mr Pondo in a let­ter to the work­ers dated July 26, 2016 de­manded that they in­di­cate whether or not they would pur­sue the labour case.

“It is deemed nec­es­sary that you in­di­cate whether you in­deed in­structed the lawyers to write re­spond­ing to the Memo which was di­rected to your­self seek­ing to know your po­si­tion re­gard­ing the mat­ter,” read the let­ter.

“You are there­fore, still re­quired to show your po­si­tion on the items pro­vided be­low and then sign on the space pro­vided.”

Six in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers who in­di­cated that they were not pur­su­ing the mat­ter were spared while the 19 got sus­pended.

The sus­pended in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers’ lawyers, Joel Mam­bara and Part­ners had writ­ten to Mr Pondo telling him that the labour case could not be with­drawn.

Said the lawyers: “We ad­vise that our clients are still pur­su­ing this mat­ter. In­fact we are await­ing a hear­ing date for the quan­tifi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion given that our ef­forts to en­gage you have been fruit­less.

“We also note with con­cern that you have ejected our clients from their of­fices and with­drawn the ve­hi­cles they were us­ing. Be rest as­sured that no threats or in­tim­i­da­tion of any sort will de­ter our clients from pur­su­ing what is law­fully theirs.”

Some man­agers are also al­leged to be fre­quently de­mand­ing doc­u­ments of high pro­file cases the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers would be work­ing on.

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