Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A bank teller is fighting expulsion from employment over allegations of stealing $8 from a client. Robert Chiwanza, who was employed at FBC Bank Limited’s Victoria Falls Branch, was shown the door after the closed circuit television footage proved that he had not given a client $8 change. Chiwanza was presented with a $20 note by a client who wanted to deposit $12.
The client just went out of the bank and Chiwanza filled in some papers indicating that he had given the man his $8 change. A month later, the client visited the bank claiming his change, but Chiwanza insisted that he had given the man the $8.
The closed circuit television (CCTV) footage for the day in question was played and it became clear that Chiwanza did not give the man his money. Chiwanza was charged with theft or fraud in terms of the company’s code of conduct and was convicted and fired.
The Labour Court ordered his reinstatement with full benefits and salary, but the bank appealed to the Supreme Court.
This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the bank had reasonable grounds on appeal.
Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza ruled that the bank’s appeal was still valid despite failure by its lawyer to pay costs for preparation of the record of proceedings.
Justice Gwaunza ruled that FBC could not be punished for the “sins” of their legal practitioner who decided to take the law into his own hands.
“Failure to comply with the rules in this case was, therefore, wilful, albeit on the part of the applicant’s legal practitioner,” she said.
“While Mr Maguchu’s (the bank’s lawyer) conduct is deserving of censure, I do not find that it scales such levels of seriousness, blatancy or unreasonableness as would merit a dismissal of the application.”
Justice Gwaunza found that the bank had prospects of success on appeal.
FBC will now proceed to argue its matter on appeal, with a view to have the bank teller dismissed over the theft of $8.