Court stops Immigration Department hearings

BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva has ordered the Immigration Department to stop unlawful disciplinary hearings of eight of its Victoria Falls officials, who were being accused of fraud.

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

The dispute began in June when the Immigration Department suspended the eight without salaries over alleged fraud involving visas.

The department summoned the officers to a disciplinary tribunal in December, but the workers filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court challenging the move.

They argued that the disciplinary hearings were unlawful and should be stopped until the court finalised another matter, case number HC1689/18, pending before the courts in which they are challenging their suspensions.

In his ruling, Justice Takuva declared that the hearing proceedings were against Public Service Commission regulations.

“The provisional order granted by Honourable Justice (Nicholas) Mathonsi on 21st day of December 2018 be and is hereby confirmed as the final order in the following terms: The purported resumption of proceedings against the applicants be and is hereby declared ultra vires the Public Service regulations in so far as the hearings are set more than seven days from the date of receiving documents to support the charge,” Justice Takuva ruled.

“The respondent be and is, hereby, ordered to pay the costs of suit one paying the other to be absolved on attorney client scale.”

Justice Mathonsi had granted the employees temporary relief, pending determination of the case.

Vincent Shoshore, Shillah Ndavani, Shepherd Gombwe, Simbarashe Nyamukachi, Joseph Raungana, Tichaona Munemo, Ruth Patience Mutasa and Misheck Chizema had been suspended for fraud, but the matter was not prosecuted for lack of evidence.

But the department extended their suspension, forcing the eight to approach the High Court seeking an order declaring their suspensions illegal.

Before the matter was heard on November 19, the employer reinstated them, but reneged on paying their dues. They were instead summoned for disciplinary hearing.

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