Hamuza and Another v Dwanga Sugar Corporation (IRC 169 of 2004) (169 of 2004) [2007] MWIRC 57 (07 November 2007);

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IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI


PRINCIPAL REGISTRY


MATTER NO. IRC 169 OF 2004


BETWEEN


HAMUZA & ANOTHER…………………………… ……..…………...APPLICANTS


-and-


DWANGWA SUGAR CORPORATION……………... ……………..RESPONDENT



CORAM: R. ZIBELU BANDA (MS.); CHAIRPERSON
D. NAMANDWA; EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST
NC KAJOMBO; EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST
Nkhata; For the Respondent
Hamuza Present
Chiyesa; Deceased
Gowa; Official Interpreter


ORDER

  1. Dismissal- Reason-Misconduct-Misuse of Company property

  2. Procedure-Right to be heard-Disciplinary hearing- Fair


Facts

The applicant was employed as Security Guard responsible for the safe custody and keeping of company property including the property that was subject of the dismissal. The applicant was in charge of certain empty sacks. These sacks were later found in possession of other unauthorized persons. When asked to explain, the applicant said the sacks had been disposed of by management. The respondent was not convinced that the sacks which were company property had been disposed of. They dismissed the applicant for misuse of company property. The applicant challenged the dismissal. The respondent argued that the dismissal was fair.



The Law

Section 57(1) of the Employment Act provides that before dismissal a person must be provided with a valid reason. While section 57(2) of the act provides that where the reason is connected with a person’s conduct, he must be given an opportunity to be heard.

It is held that in all cases of dismissal, an employee must be given a valid reason and an opportunity to state his case and defend himself; if one or both of these requirements are not complied with the dismissal is unfair. See; Beseni v Education Department of Nkhoma Synod [Matter Number IRC 320 of 2002 (unreported)] IRC.


Misconduct involving misuse of company property leading to loss is a serious act that may constitute valid ground for dismissal.

Finding

The court finds that the reason for dismissal was valid. The applicant was responsible for ensuring that company property was put to good use and secured. He was accorded an opportunity to state his case before dismissal. The respondent complied with the requirements of the law. This action is therefore dismissed in its entirety. This decision also affects his co-applicant, late Mr. Chiyesa, deceased.



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.


Made this 7th day of November 2007 at BLANTYRE.



R Zibelu Banda (Ms.)

CHAIRPERSON



Dafter Namandwa

EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST



Nich chifundo Kajombo

EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST