Zimbabwe: spy agency CIO operatives dismissed from work for reporting bosses’ corruption
TWO Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives, already in trouble after complaining about corrupt activities within their organisation, had their High Court appeal thrown out and have been ordered to go face their bosses at scheduled disciplinary hearings.
They two Charity Madyambudzi, a provincial intelligence officer and Shadreck Mugabe, a divisional intelligence officer, had appealed against the disciplinary hearing after being dragged there for citing rampant maladministration and corruption at their work stations.
CIO director general Isaac Moyo demoted them without a hearing and cut their salaries by half.
They then appealed against the decision at the High Court, but Justice Rodgers Manyangadze ordered that they should go back for disciplinary hearing at their workplace.
Madyambudzi and his colleague had sued Moyo and his deputy Gatsha Mazithulela as well as the national security minister.
On October 5, 2020, Madyambudzi was transferred to the investment branch while Mugabe was moved to the security branch.
This was done after they had raised queries on finance and procurement procedures within the material resource management division after picking out corrupt practices.
They said after they sought clarification on their redeployment and misconduct charges were levelled against them.
Madyambudzi and Mugabe were charged with misconduct in terms of the CIO Code of Conduct.
They were charged for disobeying a lawful instruction and absenting themselves from duty without leave.
The court heard the two were served with suspension on April 15 2021.
In addition, they were suspended on half salary. They were served with a notification to attend a disciplinary hearing on June 9, 2021.
On the date, the two raised preliminary points before the committee adjourned the hearing to July 7 for continuation.
According to the court records, on the return date, the two had filed the present appeal which has since been dismissed at the High Court.
They had challenged the hearing arguing that it was heard long after the lawful 21 days.
The two also said their suspension was irregular and unlawful. They also said they were suspended on half salary yet the code of conduct does not provide for that.
The bosses, in response, said the appeal was prematurely filed because their concerns were to be addressed during the disciplinary hearing.
The court concurred with the CIO bosses ruling that the appeal was prematurely filed.
“In my view, this is a classical instance of prematurely approaching this court for relief,” Justice Manyangadze ruled.
“It abrogates the fundamental principle that parties must exhaust domestic remedies before approaching the courts for relief. This is especially so in relation to labour disputes, where dispute resolution mechanisms are often available at the workplace level. The dispute between the parties is essentially a labour dispute and they must defer to this established principle,” the judge said.
The judge also said no reasonable action was given for abandoning the disciplinary hearing hearing.
“If these were criminal proceedings, the conduct of the applicants would be akin to that of an accused person seeking a review of unterminated proceedings commenced in an inferior court.”
The judge said disciplinary hearings would be thrown into disarray if these can be abandoned in midstream on the basis that this court has wide ranging powers of review.
He ordered that the matter be struck off the roll and be remitted back to the disciplinary committee for continuation.
He also slapped the two with costs.