By Mashudu Netsianda
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has taken Gwanda Municipality to court for failing to remit nearly $20 000 in Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) levies.
Gwanda just so happens to be the venue of the alleged poisoning of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, that has set of a chain of events that have seen Moyo relentlessly sniping at the VP.
In terms of section 3 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act, the Minister is empowered to impose a levy on every employer under Statutory Instrument (SI) 74 of 1999. The levy is payable to Zimdef.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development through Zimdef is funding the Government’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme.
Prof Moyo, who is the plaintiff in the matter, this week filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Gwanda Municipality as the defendant.
The Minister is demanding $19 664,30 from the local authority for the levies that were not remitted between June 2016 and August this year.
“For the period from June 2016 to August 2017, the defendant did not remit its full levy due on monthly basis as required by the regulations,” he said.
In papers before the court, Prof Moyo, through lawyers, Dube-Tachiona and Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners, said Gwanda Municipality has continuously neglected or refused to settle the debt despite demand.
“The plaintiff’s delegated officials, the fund’s levy inspectors, assessed the defendant’s wage bill, payrolls and other financial statements for the period June 2016 to August 2017, to which a sum of $19 664,30 was arrived at as balance of levy due and surcharge for that particular period,” said the Minister.
He said the council’s conduct was a violation of the standing regulations under SI 74/99.
“The defendant failed to meet its statutory obligation to remit its levy due monthly thereby unnecessarily dragging the plaintiff to court to recover the money,” said Prof Moyo.
In terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act as read in conjunction with section 3 of the Manpower Planning and Development (Levy) Notice SI 74 of 1999, every employer is obliged to pay a levy of one percent of its total assessed wage bill and other leviable benefits on employers and directors on or before the first day of each month.
Section 5 of the Manpower Planning and Development (Levy) Notice SI 74/1999 empowers Zimdef to impose a 10 percent surcharge on overdue levy. The Minister is also demanding that Gwanda Municipality must pay the cost of suit at attorney-client scale.
Council has not yet filed a notice to enter an appearance to defend the summons.
Meanwhile Minister Moyo is still to defend himself in court against allegations that he defrauded Zimdef to the tune of $500 000. The matter has hit several roadblocks, including the Minister filing a constitutional challenge against his arrest, which was later thrown out.
The First Lady Grace Mugabe has publicly defended Moyo and appears to be offering him protection. Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has also leapt to the defence of the embattled Minister. Both Grace and Mphoko are believed to belong to the G40 faction in Zanu PF. The Chronicle/Staff Reporter