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No Golden Handshake For Happison Muchechetere The Sacked ZBC Boss

Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive Happison Muchechetere’s bid to pocket more than $2,4 million as outstanding salaries and benefits following his unceremonious departure from the national broadcaster hit a brick wall after the arbitrator threw out his claim for lack of merit.

The ruling brings relief to the national broadcaster which was facing a liability running into millions of dollars as such disputes attract huge interest.

Muchechetere was in March last year awarded his full salary and benefits dating back to the time he was sent on forced leave to the date of his dismissal or reinstatement.

At the time he was sent on forced leave, Muchechetere was pocketing around $40 000 a month in salary and allowances.

In his judgment, arbitrator Mr Joel Mambara also ruled that in the event the parties failed to agree on the amount, either party might approach the “this tribunal for quantification”.
Happison Muchechetere
When the matter was brought for quantification before the same arbitrator, Muchechetere claimed $2 435 276,54 being unpaid salaries and benefits.

Muchechetere’s quantification covered contractual salary and other entitlements arrears backdated to July 1 2013.

It also covered the unfulfilled capital entitlements for the new contract.

However, in a latest judgment made available recently, the arbitrator dismissed the quantification by Muchechetere who was being represented by his lawyers, Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Gondai Sithole.

Mr Mambara ruled that the deciding factor was the date of dismissal.

“The arbitration proceedings were predicated on the outcome of disciplinary hearing,” said Mr Mambara.

He said ZBC decided to terminate Muchechetere’s contract of employment with effect from January 30 2014, the date he was sent on forced leave.

The company regarded the forced leave to be the same as suspension.

“It would be just splitting hairs to try and differentiate the two,” said Mr Mambara.

He said on completion of investigations and hearing of the matter, the ZBC board of directors resolved to dismiss Muchechetere with effect from the date he was stopped from reporting for duty.

“This is the date of dismissal. The full pay and benefits were to be paid from the date of forced leave to the date of dismissal,” said Mr Mambara.

“The date of both of these events is 30 January 2014. There is therefore nothing to quantify in the circumstances of this matter. In the result the application for quantification is hereby dismissed.”

Advocate Isaiah Mureriwa and Ms Rudo Magundani of Scanlene and Holderness represented the ZBC and opposed Muchechetere’s quantification.

The company submitted that the quantification was to be for the duration commencing with the placement of Muchechetere on forced leave, which was January 30 2014 to July 21 2015 when his contract of employment was terminated. They argued that in terms of the arbitral award, Muchechetere was entitled to a paltry $101 469.
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