By Nyasha Chuma
Zanu PF Veterans of the Liberation Struggle League Mashonaland West provincial chairperson, Happison Muchechetere could be set for a big payday after the Supreme Court ruled that he remains ZBC CEO until the state broadcaster terminates his contract properly.
The judgement’s implication on his salary and perks is not yet clear.
Professor Lovemore Madhuku who was representing Muchechetere could not be drawn to comment on the specifics saying the parties were still to study the judgement.
Muchechetere was earning US$15,000-a-month, hefty entertainment and cell phone allowances, as well as “provision of unlimited fuel per month at reasonable use” when he was suspended in 2014 following his arrest for contravening procurement regulations.
His contract was to expire in 2016.
Other perks that came with his post included an annual subscriptions for full bouquet DSTV facility, performance-related bonuses, a top-of-the-range-vehicle, full cover on school fees, medical aid and payment of four domestic workers at prevailing market rates.
Muchechetere, 70, had approached the Supreme Court challenging his dismissal from employment.
He had been convicted of seven counts of misconduct, including financial mismanagement and unlawful acquisition of an outside broadcasting van following a disciplinary hearing by the public broadcaster.
His lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku argued that Muchechetere had been fired prematurely before the disciplinary authority had completed its hearing.
Madhuku further argued that the employer imposed the penalty of dismissal before its own appointed disciplinary authority had decided on the appropriate penalty.
The Supreme Court heard his appeal last year before judgment was reserved and handed down on Thursday.
Justices, Elizabeth Gwaunza, Lavender Makoni, and Tendai Uchena upheld his appeal in part ruling that “he remains an employee until the state broadcaster terminates his contract properly.”
Muchechetere also wanted the court to find him not guilty of misconduct but did not win on this one.
It was the State’s case that Muchechetere in January 2013, entered into a procurement deal with a Chinese company to purchase an audio outside broadcasting van (OB van) for $1 050 000.
He allegedly entered into the agreement without going to tender.
Muchechetere allegedly misrepresented to the ZBC executive committee in May 2013 that the $495 000 donated by BancABC was enough to purchase an audio van, a cargo van, and a crew bus, and the committee approved the purchase of the items using the said money.
The State alleges that prior to the meeting, Muchechetere did not disclose to the committee that he had already entered into a purchasing deal to the tune of $1 050 000 for only the radio OB van.
According to State papers, Muchechetere flew to China alone where he signed an agreement concerning the inspection of the van which was never carried out by other members of the executive committee.
The OB van was subsequently delivered to Zimbabwe in August 2013 after BancABC released another $100 000 to the Chinese company, the State claims.
The offence came to light after Muchechetere’s suspension in November 2013 when it was discovered that the OB van had a market value of $350 000 contrary to the $1 050 000 Muchechetere signed for.