NetOne-Kangai wrangle rages on

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Suspended NetOne chief executive Reward Kangai

FIRED NetOne chief executive officer Reward Kangai has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court challenging the recent advertisement of his post by his ex-employer Kangai is arguing he is still the incumbent boss at the state-owned mobile operator since his challenge of the dismissal was still pending in court.

Charles Laiton

The urgent chamber application was filed on Monday and the court is yet to give its determination on the matter.

“The present application is one of a prohibitory interdict to stop the respondent (NetOne) from filling the applicant’s (Kangai) position of chief executive officer until such time when the court has fully determined the legality of my purported termination under case number HC11003/16 which application is still pending, which application is merely awaiting set down at this stage,” Kangai said in his founding affidavit.

“I aver that I am still the respondent’s incumbent chief executive officer as the respondent’s purported termination of my contract of employment is unlawful and a nullity. Moreover, the legality of the respondent’s actions is still to be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction under the application aforementioned.”

The former NetOne boss further said he had reasonable fear and well-grounded apprehension of injury that his ex-employer would fill his position before the court reaches a decision in his pending matter, hence the filing of the urgent application.

“The respondent has actively taken steps to fill up my position by advertising the said position as being vacant. The respondent in its proclivity for improbity against me has since advertised as vacant, my contested position on its website notwithstanding the legal proceedings pending and without any notice to me,” Kangai said.

According to Kangai, NetOne advertised his post and issued a deadline for the tendering of such applications as May 5, 2017. In so doing Kangai said NetOne, “so whimsically and cursorily dismisses my right to be heard, a tendency that can be traced back to its vacillation from the fault based procedure to terminate on notice without any regard to the far-reaching effects on myself”.

Kangai further said if NetOne was allowed to proceed as it had indicated, his application and his bid to exonerate himself and reinstatement would have been overtaken by events.

“Alas, instead of awaiting the judgement of this honourable court and whilst the said proceedings are still pending before this court, the respondent has taken to, in its own wisdom, proceedings to advertise my position as if there were nothing on the same before this honourable court, usurping the court’s decision-making power into its own,” he said.

Kangai said he had been in the employ of the latter for several decades and his most recent position was the instrumental post of chief executive officer.

Kangai said the background of the urgent application was that he brought an urgent chamber application sometime in April 2017 seeking an order prohibiting NetOne from appointing a substantive CEO pending the hearing of an application for a declaratory order which had been filed and awaited set down.

However, his application was dismissed after the court made findings to the effect that the matter satisfied all the requirements of urgency except for one that the set down date of the matter, being June 22, 2017, afforded him an alternative relief.

Kangai said despite the matter having failed to be heard, NetOne had already advertised his post notwithstanding that he had indicated he was challenging his dismissal. “The application is made pursuant to an order postponing the hearing of substantive application for a declaratory order on the 22 of June 2017 by the Honourable Makoni J after the Respondent filed an application to submit supplementary affidavits,” he said.

According to Kangai, sometime in February and March 2016, there were media reports of various alleged acts of misconduct having been committed by NetOne’s senior management, amongst them alleged acts of abuse for personal financial aggrandisement.

Kangai said that on March 14, 2016, “NetOne commenced the much-publicised proceedings which would see the absolute assassination of my character in the performance of my fiduciary duties by arbitrarily sending me on forced leave, which was further extended on the basis that there was need to investigate the said allegations.”

He added: “During my absence an audit was conducted into the affairs of the respondent and the resultant audit report alleged that I had abused my office and position to benefit myself at the respondent’s prejudice.”

Kangai also said NetOne demanded a response from him to the said aspects of the audit report on September 19, 2016, but before he had a chance to air his side of the story, he was suspended from work without pay and benefit on October 3, 2016.

“In a bid to protect my rights and to clear my name which had been so publicly ferociously defamed, I instituted proceedings . . . condemning the vacillation of the respondent from the fault-based proceedings it instituted and electing to terminate the relationship through notice-based procedure and even assuming that the respondent had a right to terminate on notice, condemning its disregard for the audi parterum rule,”

Kangai is represented by Tendai Biti law firm.

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