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by Joy Ndovi
Former Mighty Mukuru Wanderers defenders Francis Mulimbika and Bongani Kaipa have taken the club to the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) to seek compensation for unlawful termination of their contracts.
The two players, through their lawyers Makiyi, Kanyenda and Associates, want K44 280 000 in damages, according to court documents.
Mulimbika is demanding K20 902 000 while Kaipa is asking for K23 378 000.
The two, who joined Wanderers in 2010, were told not to report for training in October 2022 after being deemed a surplus to the club’s requirement.
This is despite Wanderers having renewed Mulimbika’s contract on February 18 2022 to February 17 2024 while Kaipa’s deal was extended on April 1 2022 to March 30 2024.
The court documents read: “To date, the applicants are yet to receive written communication from the respondents [Wanderers] confirming their employment status and terminal benefits despite the respondent’s undertakings to do so timely.
“Further, the respondents stopped payment of any salaries and emoluments to the applicants, causing them and their families financial ruin and misery.
“The applicants received their last salary in the month of September 2022. The respondents’ conduct amounts to constructive dismissal.”
Kaipa and Mulimbika first lodged a complaint with Football Association of Malawi (FAM), but no resolution was reached despite a mediation session held on December 19.
The two defenders’ lawyers want the Nomads to pay damages for unlawful and unfair termination of contract, withholding salaries, non-payment of salaries balances, signing-on fees, game bonuses and terminal benefits.
The Nomads are accused of contravening Fifa and FAM regulations of the Status and Transfer of Players article 13 and 15.
The court documents further read: “The applicants’ employment was unlawfully, unfairly and unprocedurally terminated without a valid reason and/or without a hearing, contrary to the provisions of the Employment Act.
“The applicants legitimately expected to remain in employment until the expiration of their contracts of employment by effluxion of time or unless their employment contracts were terminated consistent with contractual provisions and in full compliance to the labour law.”
Wanderers company secretary Chancy Gondwe, who is also the board secretary and legal adviser, said the matter was already before FAM for mediation.
He said: “The mediation process is yet to be concluded. Since they have opted to sue us, we shall treat it as such. We shall prepare our response and we shall meet them in court.
“Most of the claims I have seen in the IRC Form 1 are just ridiculous and without any legal basis. Football employment contract is always performance-based and can be terminated at any time where the player’s performance is not satisfactory to his employers.
“I feel sorry for them since they have now opted to take such a long and unpredictable legal journey instead of using mediation and conciliation mechanisms provided by FAM.”