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Former ZESA boss demands $10m

By Alois Vinga

Former ZESA Holdings executive chairman, Sydney Gata, has approached the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare seeking an additional retrenchment package of $10 million.

Sydney Gata
Sydney Gata

Gata is requesting a recalculation of his exit package because his initial severance payments were eroded by ZESA’s lack of salary records, hyperinflation and continuous adjustments of exchange rates during the period in question.

He is also citing the absence of board resolutions confirming terms and conditions of his retrenchment as well as an undocumented part payment by ZESA over the disputed period.

Details contained in submissions made through his legal representatives, Sinyoro and Partners, indicate that Gata received ZW$18 313 477 606 on December 18, 2007 and ZW$59 615 494 451 934 on May 30, 2008 as part of his severance package.

Despite the earlier payments, he was given a further US$292 723 between 2015 and 2016 over and above two Mercedes Benz vehicles, one utility vehicle and a house in Umwinsdale.

Gata is now arguing that he was short-changed and needs his exit package reviewed.

“ZESA’s policy on the sale of company houses to executive staff, who are entitled, is to charge 75 percent of market value. I paid ZW$500 billion against a market valuation of ZW$480 billion. In terms of benchmarking, the discount of 99,992 percent extended to senior executive management should also be applied in my case,” he said.

He also lodged an outstanding insurance claim of fire accident amounting to $157 000.

The total claim of $10 395 656,42 has two interest percentage rates on delayed payments; a five percent fixed rate per annum on payments deriving from severance packages since July 2007 and 10 percent per annum for current market rate of interest on all commercial debts.

He alleges that he served as chairman of ZESA Holdings from July 1, 2006 to June 12, 2006 before being forced to leave office through forced retrenchment.

“I was denied a contract of employment, by construction, due to salary offers well below my subordinate and also lower than my predecessor and former ZESA chief executive officer, Mr (Simbarashe) Mangwengwende and even lower than that of (an 11th grade supervisor under) the 2006 salary structure,” he said.

He noted that there was no board resolution confirming the retrenchment as well as the salary conditions and the package offered in May 2006 was below the standard.

He noted that the package was not implemented leading to protracted engagements, with litigation until a new agreement was reached on January 25, 2016 to settle the package in full and in sthe originally prescribed manner.

“Ad hoc and incomplete and undocumented payments were made in February 2016, but these were stopped. I was advised then of a new board resolution to declare a dispute before the Labour Ministry,” reads the submissions in part. The Financial Gazette