Zimbabwe Cricket has recalled a senior manager it suspended earlier this month, but his lawyers have rejected a condition in the lifting of the suspension that their client cannot pursue the case in future to claim damages.
ZC reinstated procurement and services manager Anesu Kafesu on a “without prejudice basis”, which means the employee cannot claim to have been prejudiced due to his suspension or use the suspension lift as legal ammunition before the courts if the employer was to bring out the charges again.
In a letter seen by Nehanda Radio, Kafesu’s lawyers say reinstatement without prejudice was illegal and warned that they will file a lawsuit if their client was to be charged again in future.
“We welcome the development as it was always clear that our client had not committed the offences that he was being charged with,” wrote Kafesu’s lawyer, E Jera, of Moyo and Jera Legal Practitioners.
“As such, we take it that our client has been reinstated without any conditions thereto. If in future these or any other unsubstantiated charges are raised or the conduct of the employer shows any inclination to terminate the contract unjustifiably and before its expiry, we will definitely raise the complaint of an unfair labour practice against the employer.”
Kafesu will resume work on Monday.
As reported by Nehanda Radio earlier this month, Kafesu was suspended on conflict of interest charges (criminal abuse of office), three months after the board did not renew the contract of finance director Esther Lupepe following an audit scandal.
Charges against Kafesu emanated from accusations that he contracted jobs to a private company he co-owns with his wife – for personal benefit.
Kafesu was suspended following an internal investigation.
House of Azalea, a fledgling Harare-based women’s fashion company run by Kafesu’s wife, started getting printing jobs from the cricket association five years ago.
Interestingly, House of Azalea would not itself perform the jobs it was contracted to do by ZC through Kafesu. It would subcontract a leading Harare printing company (named) and place a mark-up.
Charges are that ZC could have been prejudiced several thousand of dollars due to this practice.
The fashion company made a killing during international games hosted by Zimbabwe. For international games, ZC needs to print such material as accreditation cards, tickets and pitch-side billboards.
Some of the pitch-side billboards are bought by international corporates for several thousands of dollars for advertisment, especially during televised games when the top international sides tour.
Said a top insider: “A quick look at one of the manager’s Facebook account shows that he lives a life of luxury that is not consumate with most Zimbabwean salaries.”
“He flies first-class when players fly economy. His family does regional and international holidays. Kids go to private schools.”
What also raised suspicion was the discovery that several ZC assets, including a bus, could have been missing from the association’s asset register.
A source, meanwhile, has told Nehanda Radio that ZC has decided against taking on Kafesu in the courts due to the association’s bad record in legal disputes.
ZC has previously been forced to compensate former employees after losing at the courts.
In Kafesu’s case, its said ZC still believes it still has a case against him, therefore the lifting of the suspension with the “without prejudice” clause.
“They rushed to suspend him without ample evidence, but they are convinced his offence was dismissible,” said an insider.
Another source said ZC was advised by its lawyers to let Kafesu’s contract runs out and not renew it when it expires.
The contracts of all ZC employees expire as some stage.