BY SILAS NKALA
INNSCOR Africa Bread Company Zimbabwe transferred over $700 000 into the bank account of their former Southern Region sales and marketing manager, Paul Chimboya, despite that he is demanding payment of US$308 000 for damages in lieu of reinstatement and another US$91 000 as back pay.
The parties had reached a deadlock over the matter until Innscor decided to transfer the $700 000 against his will.
Chimboya was fired on December 27, 2017 on allegations of sabotaging the company, following the circulation of a letter deemed offensive to the firm.
He then filed an application for quantification at the Bulawayo Labour Court seeking to be paid the sum of US$308 000 as damages in lieu of reinstatement and US$91 000 as back pay among other claims.
However, the matter was removed from the roll by a Labour Court Judge President Fatima Maxwell on technicality prompting the parties to go for an out-of-court settlement.
In the out-of-court negotiations, the company offered to pay Chimboya $972 000 against his claim of US$308 000.
The company’s initial offer was $135 000, followed by $700 000 and lastly $972 000 which Chimboya rejected demanding to be paid the sum of US$308 000 in damages and US$91 000 as back pay.
However, the parties reached a deadlock after which the company in November wrote to the Registrar of the Labour Court seeking the reinstatement of its case against Chimboya.
While the parties were waiting for the courts to set a date for the hearing, Chimboya said he was surprised on December 17 to receive a message from his bank indicating that the company had deposited
$748 099,28, which is an amount that he rejected, resulting in a deadlock.
“After the Labour Court adjourned on October 27, there were deliberations of a possible out-of-court settlement. Innscor made offers of $700 000 from their initial $135 000, then finally $972 000 against a claim of US$308 000. This resulted in a deadlock as parties could not compromise on the US dollar claim by applicant and local currency on 1:1 against the US dollar offer from Innscor. Surprisingly, without any agreement in place or prior communication, Innscor went on to deposit $748 099,28 into my account on Thursday December 17,” Chimboya said.
He said he stood by his claim of US$308 000 and wondered why the company continued to dilly-dally on a clear matter.
The matter is still pending at the court as the company through its lawyers Ndove and Associates on November 4 wrote to the Registrar of the Labour Court seeking re-enrolment of the case.
“We make reference to our court appearance on October 27 wherein the matter was by consent of the parties removed from the roll to allow out-of-court negotiations. It has appeared that the parties have failed to agree on a settlement and by copy of this letter we request that the matter be re-enrolled and set down for a hearing as the respondents require finality in this matter,” the letter reads.
Following his dismissal, Chimboya had to appeal to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2019 that he should be reinstated to his position with all benefits. It also said that if reinstatement was not possible, the company should pay him damages.
Indications are that the company maintains its offer for an out-of-court settlement at $972 000 net from a gross of $1,3 million, while Chimboya stands by his demand of US$308 000 damages and US$91 000 back pay.