NetOne taken to court over $430 836 paid to ex-employee

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE Communications and Allied Industries Pension Fund (CAIPF), has issued summons at the High Court seeking an order to compel State owned NetOne Cellular (PVT) Ltd to reimburse $430 836 paid the mobile network provider’s ex-employee.

The issue has spilled into the courts after the parties failed to agree on who is supposed to have paid Willie Walter Munakiri’s pension benefits.

“On or about January 10, 2019 the plaintiff (CAIPF) demanded restitution from the defendant (NetOne Cellular) which was $430 836 as at January 10, 2019. Such demand was actuated by the operation of Rule 47 of CAIPF’s Pension Rules which rule is binding on the defendant. On January 21, 2019 the defendant refused to comply with the plaintiff’s lawful demand,” the pension fund said.

“The defendant’s refusal to restitute the plaintiff is in breach of the defendant’s obligations in terms of the plaintiff’s pension rules. The defendant’s refusal actuates from a misinterpretation of this court’s order of October 9, 2017. The refusal also precipitates from the defendant’s misapprehension of the plaintiff’s pension rules.”

In the summons, NetOne has been cited as the respondent and CAIPF submitted that sometime in October 2017, Munakiri, an ex- NetOne  employee and CAIPF’s contributing member, obtained a court order instructing that his pension benefits were to be paid out in terms of Rule 46 (1) and (2) of the CAIPF’s Pension Fund Rules.

According to CAIPF’s rule, every pension to which a contributing member becomes entitled in terms of Rule 46, shall be charged on and paid out of the general revenues and assets of CAIPF until such contributing member attains the age of 65 years.

The pension fund further said from March 16, 2018 to May 4, 2018 it paid out the sum of $300 820 to Munakiri.

This was done with a view to discharge his pension commutation lump sum; which amount was by operation of Rule 47 due from NetOne Cellular.

CAIPF said from May 1, 2018 to date, it has been paying Munakiri his monthly pension benefit at the rate of $4 063 but NetOne was refusing to pay for its ex-worker.

The matter is pending.