Khembo and Another v Illovo Group of Companies (IR 276 of 20044 ) ( of ) [2006] MWIRC 98 (01 August 2006);

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IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI


CHIKWAWA REGISTRY


MATTER NO. IRC 276 OF 2004


BETWEEN


KHEMBO AND ANOTHER…………………………… ……………...APPLICANTS


-and-


ILLOVO GROUP OF COMPANIES………………... ………………RESPONDENT



CORAM: R. Zibelu Banda, Chairperson
Nkuna of Counsel for the Respondent
Applicant; present
Gowa; Official Interpreter


JUDGMENT

Dismissal- Reason-Misconduct-Dishonesty-Conspiracy to theft-Right to be heard-Disciplinary hearing-Defence-Being caught red handed is no defence to charge of dishonesty.


Facts

Upon hearing the applicant and the respondent the court finds that the applicant was accused of conspiring to steal 12 bags weighing 50 kgs each of sugar from the respondent. The applicants were invited for a hearing where they were found guilty of dishonesty and were dismissed. The applicants challenged the termination alleging that because they were not caught red-handed they were not guilty of the misconduct.


The Law

Reason

Misconduct involving dishonesty has been held to constitute valid ground for dismissal: Ibrahim V Suncrest Creameries Ltd [Matter Number IRC 73 of 2003 (unreported)]. The fact that an employee is not caught red-handed is no defence to a charge of dishonesty. The respondent had valid reason for dismissal: Section 57 (1) of the Employment Act.


Hearing

The applicants admitted appearing before a disciplinary hearing to state their case. The respondent complied with the law on fair dismissal: Section 57 (2) of the Employment Act. This action is therefore dismissed in its entirety.


Any party aggrieved by this decision has the right of appeal to the High Court within 30 days of this decision. Appeal lies only on matters of law and jurisdiction and not facts: Section 65 (2) of the Labour Relations Act.


Pronounced this 1st day of August 2006 at BLANTYRE.



Rachel Zibelu Banda

CHAIRPERSON.