Ex-OK Supermarket boss challenges dismissal 15 years later

Source: Ex-OK Supermarket boss challenges dismissal 15 years later | Newsday (News)

A FORMER employee of OK Zimbabwe, Sifelani Makaita Gomo, has accused her former employer’s lawyer of misrepresenting facts at the Supreme Court to get a favourable judgment, 15 years after her dismissal from
work.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Gomo was employed by OK Zimbabwe before she was dismissed from work in 2005 over allegations of gross incompetence.
She challenged the dismissal in a legal battle that took three years and ended at the Supreme Court, which upheld the dismissal in 2008.

But Gomo, 12 years later, wrote a letter to the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), accusing OK Zimbabwe lawyers Wintertons Legal Practitioners of bias, claiming she had discovered that they filed documents in a way aimed at misleading the court.

Gomo said Andrew Mugandiwa of Wintertons misled the court by filing the documents upside down the chronological order to mislead the court.

“When my then lawyer filed his heads of arguments, he wrote it in the chronology order and he was naturally quoting the pages of the documents he was referring to in his argument. Mugandiwa, after being granted leave to appeal, then turned the file upside down,” Gomo said.

“I wrote a detailed response to his leave to appeal also quoting the pages as they were in the labour court file. Mugandiwa went on to remove some critical documents I was referring to, like the charge sheet used to dismiss me and some other important documents.

“He also changed the numbering of the pages to suit his agenda and rearranged the documents in such a way that the charge sheet that was dropped and the minutes of the hearing that was nullified are the ones filed at the end of the file to give the impression that they were raised last.”

Gomo said after that, Mugandiwa removed the charge sheet for which she was dismissed, thereby misleading the court.

“The Supreme Court judges hence found me guilty of charges that were presented before them and not what I was dismissed for because the correct charge sheet had been removed,” she said.

“If the file had been left intact, it would have made it easier for the judges to cross-check the arguments presented by my former lawyer which are still in the file.”

Gomo was dismissed for gross incompetence after she missed sales target by 4%.

She said she surpassed the profit target by 239%, but got a warning three months later.

“I had missed sales target by 4% (it’s written on the warning), but surpassed the profit target by 239%, but I got a warning three months later when my bosses decided to start building a case against me.

“The disciplinary committee even commended that performance, but Mugandiwa put a decimal comma between the figures, making it read 2,39% above profit target. This was still an excellent performance, but it was manipulated to mislead the court.”

The LSZ confirmed receipt of Gomo’s complaint, but Mugandiwa refused to comment.

However, a source familiar with the issue claimed Mugandiwa represented OK well, but was not part of the internal disciplinary measures against Gomo, who was represented by another law firm.

The source said Gomo had an opportunity to notify the Supreme Court that the papers had been tampered with on September 15, 2008 and that the court could not have proceeded with the case without a charge
sheet.

If Gomo had a copy of the appeal record when the appeal was argued before the court, she, therefore, had an opportunity to advise the court that the record had been changed, the sources queried.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Makaita Gomo 1 month ago

    Oh yea people of Zimbabwe and anyone from elsewhere who managed to read the story of my dismissal that was published by Newsday and later distributed to every media house in Zimbabwe! I am here to set the record straight. My name is Sifelani Makaita Gomo.

    I was not dismissed for gross incompetence. I was dismissed for Any act, conduct or omission, inconsistent with the express or implied conditions of employment of so serious a nature as to constitute a breach of the contract of employment going to its roots. And by doing what I am doing, let it be known that I am not challenging my dismissal. I did that 15 years ago and I won the case at the Labour court because judge president Mtshiya who presided over my case did the work of a judge like King Solomon in the Bible. The designated officer dismally failed to prove the act, conduct or omission on my part but they dismissed me anyway. Their lawyer, Mugandiwa was even worse. He looked for a definition of this miscellaneous offence in dictionaries and books of law and admitted on his own that the definitions he found could not help so he decided to base his arguments using minutes of a hearing that was nullified by the first appeals committe at OK Zimbabwe. That hearing was his only resource and judge President Mtshiya was smart too smart, he refused to be sidetracked. He refused to honour Mugandiwa’s submissions that were based on a nullified hearing.

    I invite you all to read the Labour court judgement and compare and contrsst with the judgement delivered by a superior court.

    The good judgement was overturned by the supreme court of Zimbabwe in 2009. When I read the supreme court judgement my heart bled, not because I had lost the case, no! The supreme court found me guilty of not only the one unproven miscellaneous offence I was charged with. The court ‘conferred’ on me an extra offence under the same serious offences 1.2.10 which is gross incompetence in work performance. This is a first in the history of Law in the whole wide world, that a superior court manufactures its own charges and imposes them on the respondent. And l think the only reason they did that was because there is no recourse after the supreme court. It is no coincidence therefore, that my story is trending on the internet and the only reason that excites the reporters who reported my story is the one offence that was imposed by the supreme court. At no one time have l read a reporter quoting the real charge l was dismissed for.

    The quality of the judgement on its own leaves a lot to be desired. There are gross errors of commission and omission and outright lies. In my first quarter appraisal I missed the sales target for the first quarter by 4% and surpassed profit target by 239%. I gave my staff a special lunch to thank them for the sterling performance. Three months later my then area manager, I believe in obedience to an instruction from his superior sent me a warning in the mail bag for the same performance I had celebrated with my staff. I raised it in my hearing and the disciplinary committee even commended me for the performance though they did not use it in mitigation. I found it shocking that the supreme court used the warning for such a sterling performance as an aggravating circumstance to overturn a good judgement. It baffled me further to imagine that if the judges went to such great lengths to look for aggravating factors that were actually not aggravating, how did they fail to read my detailed response to the leave to appeal? There was no iota of evidence that they even looked at any of my submissions or the labour court judgement they overturned? How did they come up with two offences when the judgement they overturned had only one?

    A dismissal is not supposed to be that fatal but mine was. I will explain how using the following aside.

    In 2011 I went SCOAN just for my own retreat and I received a prophecy from prophet TB Joshua concerning the court case that had already been concluded as if it was still going on. He said, “they are planning to turn everything upside down for you”. I wondered how else because they had already done that and the fraudulent judgement was testimony enough. No, they were not done. In 2014 a news item suddenly appeared on allafrica.com. It was only one paragraph and it needed a subscription to access the whole story. It was headlined ” OK Zimbabwe given green light to fire incompetent manager”. Notice that the report is dated October 2009 but it never appeared on the internet till 2014. The one paragraph I refer to had my name on it and it said I was dismissed for gross incompetence, an offence that was not even on my charge sheet.

    I immediately wrote to allafrica.com asking them to remove the article because it was not true. They removed immediately and apologized. The same day at 8.58pm , a blogger I do not know till now posted the full article on his blog. The language of the anonymous reporter was venomous and the only truth in the article was that I was dismissed from employment. I was never suspended as the reporter alleged.

    It was after several months that I found the email address of the blogger and I emailed him requesting that he remove the damning article from his blog. To my surprise he was adamant, citing The Herald as the source. I immediately knew that someone was on payroll just to tarnish my image. This is when it dawned on me that prophet TB Joshua’s prophecy had come to pass.

    I started writing to different people whom I thought were in a position to help me but it was all in vain. They said supreme court judgements are final. Really? Must a fraudulent judgement be final?

    I never stopped looking for help because my adversaries had proven beyond reasonable doubt that when they dismissed me from employment they had a well orchestrated plan to destroy my career by tarnishing my image to the world that has not met me. It is not a coincidence that the one charge that was not on my charge sheet is the one that has been grabbed by unscrupulous news reporters and made a news item, further tarnishing my image. And it baffles my mind that some people earn a living from the pain of others.

    Why is it that the correct offence I was charged with is not even mentioned by the two reporters who reported my case?

    Yes, they have told me that the supreme court judgements cannot be contested and that there is no recourse after the supreme court. What about in cases like mine where the judgement was done fraudulently? Reading the Labour court judgement alone is enough for one to see the anomaly.

    When the new Zimbabwe was born, I was so encouraged when president Mnangagwa promised to deal with corruption in every ministry. He said that cases that were unfairly handled and where corruption could be proven can be revisited. I had already been from pillar to post in quest for justice but his promise gave me a fresh energy and an assurance that one day justice will be served.

    When I approached the Law Society of Zimbabwe, I had this in mind. Ivwanted my case to be audited. I never approached them to challenge any dismissal because I did that 15 years ago and I was robbed by the supreme court. LSZ told me that they had no authority to audit the supreme court but asked me to file a complaint against the lawyer who handled my case if I had any and I did. The bad reporter says I accused the Mugandiwa of ‘bias’. What bias? Where did I say that?

    It is very disheartening to find my name trending on the internet over lies that I was trying to expose when I approached Wisdom Mudzungairi three months ago to publish a story that would set the record straight. I sent him all the documents that support my story, from the Labour court judgement, my dismissal letter, minutes of the hearing, my letter of appeal and even my performance appraisals. It is clear on all the documents that I submitted that I was dismissed for a miscellaneous offence 1.2.1 (Any act, conduct or omission inconsistent with the fulfillment of the express or implied conditions of employment of so serious a nature as to constitute a breach of the contract of employment going to its root) and not gross incompetence. For three months he was dragging his feet, pretending to be busy then he suddenly lept on my story when a supposed “link” was sent from The Law Society of Zimbabwe. The reporter was quoting out of context and he never bothered to verify with me for a balanced report. What kind of journalism is this? I thought we were together in trying to see to it that the integrity of our justice system is maintained by exposing corruption that saw me being convicted for a different set of offences when I had run to the courts with one offence on my charge sheet. What kind of desperation for a story is this, for a whole editor to set aside the main issue brought before him and start chasing some side shows created by people that are only referred to as sources familiar with the issue. This so called source has been the enemy behind the scenes in my case. And we both know the source. It is my suspicion that the reporter was held “at money point” by his so called source so my opinion did not matter. Forgive me for suspecting.

    The president recently granted amnesty to prisoners who were serving sentences over crimes that they knew had commited. Must I spend my life in a virtual prison because of a deliberate error from the supreme court that used its finality clause to impose a wrong sentence on an innocent person? Must someone be allowed to sit on my neck for so long in the name of ‘a supreme court judgement cant be reversed?’ It is this finality clause that my adversaries exploited and they now use a judgement they manipulated to defame me. I can’t breathe, and I have not been able to breathe for 15 years. Are supreme court judges so above the law that they can get away with justice perversion of this magnitude?

    I am including my heads of arguments that I pulled out from my file. The reporter from Newsday faulted me for not raising it with the court that the pages were scrambled. While this was notbmy major concern, let me tell the reporter thatbi did. The clerk at the supreme court even permitted me to correct the pages I was quoting on my heads of arguments in all three files weeks before the hearing. You will see that I went through the files cancelling the initial page I had previously quoted and writing the correct page using a pen. You will also notice that in some instances there is a difference of more than 100 pages between the original page l quoted and the new pages. For example, the trading report that was on page 27 in the original file is found on page 114 in the new file.
    There were new documents that were added to the file and file ballooned from less than 100 pages to 189. This I know because there are surprise submissions that Mugandiwa was quoting from the minutes of the nullified hearing. The original minutes were initialled on every page by me. The minutes in the file do not have my initials at all.

    I believe my heads of arguments will set the record straight. On the JSC website I read that their vision is to have world class justice system. I have a right to enjoy that too. I can’t serve a life sentence in the name of “supreme court judgement can’t be reversed” while my adversary is celebrating and using the same to defame me. Why are the reporters all choosing to wtite about gross incompetence and ignoring the Any act, conduct or omission offence completely. Someone must audit the auditor. Supreme court can’t be a death trap.

    I can’t breathe

    I am a law abiding citizen. My life matters too.

    Written by Makaita Gomo