Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A FORMER Chitungwiza Municipality finance director’s dream to become a millionaire by claiming damages and outstanding salaries to the tune of $8,5 million from the local authority, were shattered after the Labour Court threw out his appeal last week.
Chitungwiza Municipality emerged victorious from the long-drawn-out case after the judges found that Mr Goodway Mvududu had wrongly filed an appeal when the nature of his complaint called for a review.
On that technicality, Mr Mvududu’s bid to cripple the operations of the already struggling local authority hit a brick wall.
Mr Mvududu’s first attempt to get the $8,5 million flopped when an arbitrator last year threw out his claim as unjustified.
He then filed a notice of appeal challenging the decision of the arbitrator.
Justices Euna Makamure and Fatima Maxwell, sitting as an Appeal Court, dismissed the appeal saying Mr Mvududu cited procedural irregularities instead of substantive merits of the decision of an arbitrator, making the appeal defective.
“Clearly appellant is aggrieved by procedural issues. There are no substantive issues raised in the grounds of appeal.
“The point in limine therefore has merit and it succeeds.
“The point in limine is hereby upheld and the appeal be and is hereby dismissed,” ruled the two judges of the Labour Court.
Mr Rodgers Matsikidze of Matsikidze and Mucheche Legal Practitioners represented Chitungwiza Municipality, while Mr Mvududu was not represented in the matter.
Apart from the cash, Mr Mvududu was also claiming three top-of-the-range vehicles — Toyota Prado, Toyota Fortuner SUV and a Mazda BT50 double cab.
He also wanted the municipality to give him two residential stands (one acre each), a commercial stand (two acres) and an industrial stand (three acres) in the town, among other properties.
Some of the items include a wheelbarrow (award for 10-year service), plough (award for 15-year service) and a bicycle (award for 20-years of service).
Mr Mvududu was suspended from work in December 2005 for alleged misconduct, but had his contract terminated in 2007.
An arbitrator ruled in his favour and found the dismissal to be unlawful.
He got a reinstatement order with full salary and benefits.
Following its failure to reinstate Mr Mvududu, council was ordered to pay his outstanding salaries, benefits and damages.
The parties failed to agree on the damages and they went back to the arbitrator for quanti- fication.
Mr Mvududu wanted the tribunal to calculate his damages using a monthly salary rate of $2 283, which was paid to a finance director as at May 2009.
However, council argued that there was no basis for the damages to be calculated using the 2009 salary when the unfair labour practice was done in the Zimbabwe dollar era between 2005 and 2007.
Last year an arbitrator threw out the claim on the basis that it was not justified.
The tribunal ruled that Mr Mvududu ought to have calculated his damages using the Zimbabwean dollar applicable as at February 2008 when the first award was granted.
In its ruling, the tribunal considering that he had rejected the rate of $926 monthly that he had been earlier on offered.