Tuesday, 23 January 2018

HRE COUNCIL BOSS SUSPENSION IS LIFTED

Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni has lifted the suspension of Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube  after she challenged him saying he did not have the authority to suspend a chamber secretary.

Through her lawyer, Mr Sternford Moyo of Scanlen and Holderness, Mrs Ncube argued that a number of allegations raised against her could be traced to former town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi’s tenure.
Sources close to the proceedings told The Herald that Mrs Ncube had or will receive another suspension letter as the lifting of suspension was technical because council did not want to breach provisions of the Urban Councils Act which stipulate that she was supposed to appear before a tribunal within a stipulated time.

“You are hereby notified that your suspension on 27 December 2017 is hereby uplifted,” reads part of the letter written by Cllr Manyenyeni to Mrs Ncube. Consequently, you are now reinstated to your position as chamber secretary, wherein you were also performing the functions of the town clerk, with no loss of salary and benefits.”

Mrs Ncube could not be reached for comment, but Cllr Manyenyeni said: “The issue is before the disciplinary committee. It will prejudice the proceedings.”

City of Harare suspended Mrs Ncube and three other directors — Dr Prosper Chonzi (health services director), Mr Tendai Kwenda (finance director) and Mr Cainos Chingombe (human capital) — last month on allegations of financial abuse following a report by a tribunal set up in February last year, to investigate council salaries.

The four are challenging their suspension and composition of the disciplinary committee. Mr Ncube’s lawyers had argued that Clr Manyenyeni’s letter did not indicate the position from which their client was suspended, as she was employed as the chamber secretary and only acted as town clerk from August 2015.

“You have no authority to suspend a chamber secretary,” said Mr Moyo. Mr Moyo argued that the tribunal and ministerial audit was constituted by Cllr Manyenyeni, who also appointed hearing officers. He said Cllr Manyenyeni should have recused himself from the matter as his determination to fire Mrs Ncube was well known.
Mr Moyo further alleged that Cllr Manyenyeni hand-picked the tribunal, single-handedly prepared the terms of reference, ignored the fact that the tribunal was not properly constituted during most of its proceedings and arbitrarily appointed members of the disciplinary committee.

“Clearly, in all the circumstances, there can be no hearing in conformity with the law and principles of natural justice,” he said. “Consequently, the suspension and the set down are unlawful, null, void and of no force and effect.” Herald

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