Caaz managers challenge dismissal

THREE senior managers whose contracts were vindictively terminated by Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) last month are challenging their dismissal saying proper procedures were not followed.

By Wongai Zhangazha

The three senior managers, who co-operated with the police in an ongoing corruption investigation of the parastatal’s embattled chief executive David Chawota, have demanded to see Transport minister Joram Gumbo to air their grievances and possibly resolve the issue.

They are also planning to take the matter to the Labour Court if the meeting with Gumbo fails to yield positive results.

The three, Harare Airport manager Priscilla Mawire, corporate secretary Caroline Chigumira and finance director Joel Masuku had their contracts terminated with effect from April 30. Caaz management immediately changed locks to their offices and barred them from entering the premises.

“They are questioning the termination of their contracts because according to their conditions of service the contracts should only be terminated with the board’s approval. However, Caaz does not have a board at the moment,” said a senior official.

“They want to know the reasons behind the termination of the contracts. They also want to know whether the decision was taken based on performance and whether it was related to investigations targeting Chawota. They are alleging victimisation.

“In addition, the managers should have been formally notified of the termination three months before the contract expired but they were notified 30 days before.”

The source further said the managers were infuriated with the manner Caaz officials treated them following the termination of the contracts.

“They were treated as if they were a security threat or risk to the company,” said the official.

Officials also said there was no proper handover and takeover in the process.

CAAZ public relations manager Anna Julia Hungwe could not be reached for comment yesterday as she was said to be out of the country while Chawota’s mobile went unanswered.

The three senior managers had a strained relationship with Chawota after cooperating with police during the time he was suspended by the parastatal’s board chaired then by Allana Moosa.

The Moosa-led board suspended Chawota in July last year before resigning en masse in November after Gumbo reinstated the Caaz boss, stopping internal investigations aviation body.

Despite his reinstatement and the halting of internal investigations, Chawota is being investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department’s fraud squad over allegations of abuse of office and corruption.

Chawota is accused of facilitating the awarding of a contract for the supply of stationery, diaries, outdoor advertising, graphic designs and printing to a company he has an interest in.