A three-year labour rift between former General Manager of Ellis Botswana, Collin Khali and his employers ended on a sad note for the GM this week at the Industrial Court.
The 46-year-old Khali dragged his employers to court in 2010 for unfair dismissal, unlawful deduction of funds and unpaid severance benefits.
He was dismissed from work after failing to attend disciplinary hearings and this week he lost his case against his former employers.
Explaining why he did not attend the disciplinary hearings to Justice Diratsagae Molomo of the industrial Court Khali said he decided to abscond after he realised that he did not stand a chance against a hostile board.
“They wanted to kick me out and they made up all the charges against me and looking at their history with employees I knew I did not stand any chance against them.
So I made a conscious decision not to appear,” he said.
Khali further complained that when he, together with the rest of the staff took loans from First National Bank (FNB) in 2008 through Ellis Botswana, the company over deducted the monthly repayments from their salaries.
“The agreement was that the company would deduct from our salaries and remit to the bank. I signed for a P1, 778.25 monthly deduction but the employer deducted P1, 822.00, a discrepancy which I noticed after I was dismissed from work,” he said.
Attorney Edward Fashole Luke II, who was representing Ellis Botswana however dismissed Khali’s claims under cross examination.
He said Khali had not been unfairly dismissed as he had given up his rights to be heard by not attending the disciplinary hearing.
“You chose of your own volition to wave your right to be heard. It was not my client’s fault,” he quipped.
Regarding the unlawful deduction complaint, Luke argued that the additional charges were administrative and he went on to further produce an agreement statement that Khali had signed as proof.
When Khali admitted that he had signed the document, Justice Molomo interjected: “You’re supposed to read documents before you sign them.
A person of your education and responsibility in a company cannot raise an argument of such ignorance.”
Luke further argued that Ellis Botswana had done Khali a favour by paying him for a 28-day sick leave when he was only entitled to 18 days.
He told the court that Khali was once found gambling while on sick leave. He said the company had since offered to pay Khali P9 317 in severance benefits.
Luke said his client was even willing to pay an extra P800 as an additional offer which Khali accepted.
After all the calculations were done, Khali’s severance benefits amounted to only P5 929.
After the hearing he told The Voice: “At least I can finally move on.
This case has taken too long but I’m glad it’s over now and I can concentrate on my life and the new job,” he said.