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MFH Group in legal battle with former employee

Dec 23, 2011, 1:59 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

MFH Group Company had instituted a legal claim against their former employer, Basiru Conteh, before the Industrial Tribunal at Kanifing.

The company claimed D48,673.80, being damages for breach of contract made orally or in writing calculated at six months’ salary.

The company also claimed D24,336.90, being the requisite notice period of three months’ salary and a statutory interest and the rate of per cent from the date of judgment to full payment.

The MFH Group further claimed for legal and administration costs of D15,000 associated with instituting legal proceedings.

Testifying under cross-examination on 20 December 2011, the secretary of MFH Group, Mariama Dibba, said she is a secretary of the MFH Group but does not sit in the board of the Group.

She testified that she was called at a meeting that the defendant was invited, noting that she was not told what the hearing was about and that she only got to know about it at the meeting.

The witness revealed that if there was a disciplinary hearing, she would be called to go and take minutes.

Asked whether she was the one that prepared exhibit D, she replied in the affirmative, but said her signature was not there.

The MFH Group secretary further said that she prepared another minute apart from exhibit D with regard to the defendant but she did not sign it as well.

“As secretary, you prepared a minute, why didn’t you sign the document?” the defendant’s counsel asked and the witness said she has no reasons as to why she did not sign the minutes.

The defendant’s counsel further put it to the witness that the said minutes prepared by her were not the true reflection of what transpired between the plaintiff and the defendant. The witness responded: “I was in the meeting and what transpired was what I wrote.”

Quizzed whether she knew the defendant, the witness told the tribunal that she knew the defendant and that she knew that the defendant worked for the company for 15 years.

The witness revealed further that she did not know whether the defendant was brought to any disciplinary hearing prior to the one she attended.

Still under cross-examination she told the tribunal that she worked for two years with the company and that she did not know why the defendant was brought to the tribunal by the company.

Asked to look at exhibit H whether she had ever seen and read it, she replied in the positive, adding that the document was brought to her attention at the time she started working with the company.

According to the witness, apart from her work as a secretary, she was not posted to any of the branches at the MFH Group, adding: “I was aware that the defendant resigned from the service of MFH Group, but I did not know any reason why the defendant resigned until after all the hearing.”

When further asked by the defendant’s counsel if she was aware of the defendant’s leave application, she responded in the affirmative.

“I cannot remember how many of these letters I typed and sent to the defendant,” she told the tribunal.

Still testifying, the witness confirmed to the tribunal that she was the one that typed defendant’s exhibit B and that she did not know of any shortage that she was aware of.

The witness admitted that there were lot of things she did not know about in the case.

Under re-examination, she told the court that she did not sign minutes prior to this incident.

At that juncture, the plaintiff’s lawyer announced the closure of her client’s case.

The tribunal’s chairman therefore set another hearing of the case for 23 January 2012.