NetOne boss fights suspension

SUSPENDED NetOne chief executive officer, Reward Kangai, has approached the High Court seeking to bar the firm from dragging him to a disciplinary hearing, claiming the telecommunication service provider’s board members were biased.

Source: NetOne boss fights suspension – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 18, 2016


Kangai was suspended without pay and benefits on October 3 this year, after being sent on forced leave, as the mobile operator set in motion investigations pertaining to his alleged abuse of the company’s $11 million.

However, through his lawyer, Tendai Biti, Kangai said he would not be subjected to a disciplinary hearing comprised of members that had already made a decision to suspend him.

“The respondent’s (NetOne) board did not have the power and authority to suspend applicant (Kangai) without pay and benefits, as it did on October 3, 2016.The respondent’s suspension without pay and benefits is, therefore, unlawful,” Biti said in the draft order.

“The respondent (NetOne) is barred from instituting proceedings against the applicant (Kangai) on the basis of their bias. Or, alternatively, the parties must agree on an independent arbitrator, who shall determine any charges to be brought by respondent against the applicant and whose decision shall be final.”

According to Kangai, his employer had already prejudged him when a decision was made to have him suspended and, as such, inviting him for a disciplinary hearing would not accord him a fair hearing.

“The respondent’s chair, for instance, even before the forensic report, has been giving numerous interviews alleging that my colleagues and I siphoned $11 million from the respondent through a company called Firstel,” he said.

“Besides and in any event, it is clear from the Sunday Mail article of September 18, 2016 that the respondent has already terminated my contract of employment.

“I, therefore, seek a declaratur (declaration) to the effect that the respondent’s board is barred, on the basis of bias, from procedurally dealing with my matter.”

The NetOne boss also claimed the board had no authority to suspend him without pay and benefits.

“The respondent (NetOne), for instance, will have a problem in appointing a disciplinary committee from the respondent’s workplace. In addition, any other person appointed by a very biased board would not be in a position to adjudicate this matter impartially, more so, in view of the horrible publicity that has surrounded this matter,” he said.

Kangai said the only logical way to proceed would have been for NetOne and him to negotiate an arbitration process through an agreed arbitrator, whose decision would be final.

“However, given the fact that I have worked for over 35 years for this organisation and built this organisation, justice would demand that the respondent and I negotiate a package and we part amicably,” he said.