Air Force Commander Sues Top school For Excluding Daughter Over US Dollar Fees

A top military commander whose daughter’s offer letter for a Form 1 place at top Harare school, Dominican Convent, was withdrawn for refusing to pay fees in United States dollars has gone to court challenging the decision which he says is unlawful.

Air Vice Marshal Michael Moyo, who is also the Zimbabwe Defence Forces University’s vice chancellor, has mounted the lawsuit together with his wife, Sylvia, arguing that charging fees exclusively in foreign currency falls foul of Statutory Instrument 127/2021 also known as the Presidential Powers Temporary Measures Financial Laundering Amendment Regulations 2021.

The SI states that “a natural or legal person shall be guilty of a civil infringement if he or she, being a seller of goods or services not authorised by law to charge for them exclusively in foreign currency, refuses to allow any buyer thereof to tender payment for them in Zimbabwe dollars at the ruling exchange rate.”

In a High Court application, Moyo says his daughter has been learning at the school since Grade One and is currently in Grade Seven.

Earlier this year, his daughter applied for a Form One place at the school in line with the applicable procedures. The acceptance was merit-based, and Moyo said his daughter excelled resulting in her being given a place for the class commencing 2022.

In order to secure the place, parents were advised to pay a development levy of US$1,500 by September 30, 2021.

Moyo said he went to the school on September 8 with an intention to settle the fees but was told he could only make payment in United States dollars and “not through any other currencies including Nostro or RTGS at the interbank rate.”

“The request for payment in strict US dollar cash was surprising. That demand was the basis upon which I sought a meeting with the head to engage on the contents of the offer letter, particularly on the payment mode as I had attempted to make payment for the accepted offer albeit using the local currency (swipe) at the official interbank rate,” he said.

Moyo said he requested for meetings with the school head to no avail. The front office manager organised a meeting with the head for September 28 but this did not succeed.

Moyo said he was told that he would meet the deputy head who refused to meet him and instead told him to just pay the money in cash US currency.

“I departed as I felt not respected or appreciated as a stakeholder in general and senior citizen in particular, in that I had been a parent for the school for the past seven years and I had accepted an offer and I knew that in eyes of the law a contract had been perfected and completed,” he said.

On September 30, Moyo said he received a letter from the school head notifying him of the withdrawal of the offer for a Form 1 place for his daughter.

The head wrote to Moyo, advising him that he had “displayed his unwillingness to be bound by the school rules and regulations, which conduct is detrimental not only to the school but to other parents.”

Moyo contends that “the letter and its contents are illegal as I was punished for requesting for payment using the RTGS method and applying the interbank rate which is legal and based on whatever charge that has been given, which I was willing to pay.”

Moyo also said he is not aware of the rules and regulations which the school said he violated as they were never communicated to him.

“My acceptance of the offer was clearly in line with the law and the respondent cannot seek to punish my daughter for conduct founded on the law. The decision to withdraw is unwarranted and illegal,” he wrote.

He wants the school’s decision to be declared null and void, and for his daughter to be given a place at the school.

The couple wants it declared that the school’s decision is not supported by the law and is prejudicial to his daughter.

The matter is pending. ZimLive

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