The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) breathed a sigh of relief last Friday when Labour Court judge, Justice Phildah Muzofa, set aside the close to $1 million arbitral award granted to former finance general manager Elliot Kasu.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Justice Muzofa referred the matter back to the arbitrator to hear evidence on the rate of pay.
In her ruling following ZBC’s appeal against paying Kasu a whopping $923 459,18, Justice Muzofa said: “The appeal be and is hereby upheld. The matter is remitted to the same arbitrator to hear evidence on the rate of pay.”
According to the evidence presented in court, Kasu was employed by ZBC in terms of a fixed-term contract, but in November 2013 he was placed on leave with pay, which was later withdrawn in January last year.
Kasu, however, challenged his placement on leave without salary and benefits by the then Minister of Information Media and Broadcasting Services Jonathan Moyo. The matter was referred for conciliation where it failed and was referred for arbitration.
In his claim, which was not opposed by ZBC, Kasu listed outstanding salaries and benefits including backpay and the arbitrator awarded him his claims in default. Kasu then approached the arbitrator for quantification and was awarded a total of $923 459,18 an amount ZBC disputed and decided to challenge the application through its lawyer Isaiah Mureriwa.
In her judgment setting aside the award, Justice Muzofa said: “Quantification of damages by its very nature is a function of evidence. No sound quantification of damages can be made without proper evidence.”
“In this case it would seem the appellant (ZBC) had issues with the rate of pay. It was, therefore, incumbent upon the arbitrator to first determine the rate of pay after a consideration of evidence from both parties.
“In my view, the first order by the arbitrator did not settle the issue of the rate of pay. The rate of pay was relevant in the quantification of damages.”