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In 2010 the Appellant was employed as a metre-reader. In 2011 the Appellant was re-designated as a cashier under the same employment terms. Following the re-designation, the Appellant was transferred to Mumbwa. The Appellant did not immediately take up the position and was charged with absenteeism from duty. He was later suspended and placed on half pay. After the suspension, the Appellant was asked to report for duty but only did so after a month. He continued to absent himself from work and was served with fresh disciplinary charges. At the second disciplinary hearing he was found guilty, dismissed and given 14 days to appeal. The 19 June 2013 appeal was unsuccessful and the Respondent's Managing Director wrote to the Appellant on 23 July 2013 advising him that he had exhausted the appellate procedure in ZESCO and that if the Appellant wished to pursue the matter further, he had to go to court. On 2 January 2014 the Appellant made his application for leave to lodge his complaint out of time claiming he had been pursuing other administrative channels which were not fruitful. The Court found no merit in the application and it was dismissed on the basis of inordinate delay and the absence of a plausible reason. The Appellant appealed.
Leave to file a complaint out of time is not granted as a matter of course as though the pursuer is merely pushing an open door. The granting of leave to file delayed complaints requires that discretion is exercised judiciously, there have to be sufficient reasons for the delay to seek redress in court after the incident complained of. The Appellant had presented a lazy effort and had no plausible reasons for the delay of almost 6 months. Jonathan Lwimba Mwila v World Vision Zambia SCZ Appeal No 193 of 2005 (unreported) followed
This was an appeal against the entire judgment of the Industrial Relations whereby that court dismissed the appellant's complaint in terms of which he had sought a variety of reliefs against the Respondent, including damages, payment of his pension, bonus, lost earnings/ allowances etc. consequent upon his dismissal by the Respondent. The history and background facts surrounding the complaint in question are that the Appellant was employed by the Respondent as an auditor on 5th August, 1997. On 27th November, 2008, the Appellant was laterally appointed to the position of Manager, Area Operations. Sometime around the beginning of 2012, the Respondent, acting in liaison with the Standard Bank Africa Information Technology Team, undertook a clean-up exercise on the Respondent's interest accrual accounts. During that exercise, 4 suspicious transactions involving ZMK2.8 billion which had been processed at the Respondent's Matero Service Centre, Lusaka, were identified. The Respondent subsequently undertook investigations which established that the Appellant had been responsible for branch quarterly surprise cash checks for the Respondent bank's Matero Service Centre. The investigations further established that, in spite of having been fully aware of his responsibilities during the quarterly surprise cash checks for Matero Service Centre, the Appellant had not been diligent in the discharge of those responsibilities. On 24th February, 2010, the Respondent suspended the appellant from duty and on 3 April, 2012 the Respondent preferred disciplinary charges against the Appellant. Subsequently, the Appellant responded to the charges and a disciplinary hearing was conducted by the Respondent's Disciplinary Committee which culminated in the Appellant being found guilty of the two charges. In consequence, the Disciplinary Committee unanimously pronounced a dismissal verdict against the Appellant in accordance with the Respondent's Disciplinary Code. The Chairman of the Respondent's Disciplinary Committee advised the appellant about his dismissal and his right to appeal to the Respondent's Managing Director against the decision of the Disciplinary Committee. The Appellant subsequently appealed to the Respondent's Managing Director who upheld the decision of the Disciplinary Committee. Following this development, the Appellant instituted legal proceedings in the Industrial Relations Court.
1. The court cannot be required to sit as a court of appeal from the decision of the Tribunal to review its proceedings or to inquire whether its decision was fair or just or reasonable. In a case such as this, the court ought to have regard only to the question whether there was power to intervene, that is to say, the question whether the tribunal had valid disciplinary power.
2. Where an employee has committed an offence for which he can be dismissed, no injustice arises from failure to comply with the procedure stipulated in the contract and such an employee has no claim on that ground for wrongful dismissal or a declaration that the dismissal is a nullity.
3. There was a sufficient substratum of facts which justified the disciplinary measure