A LECTURER at Lusaka Apex Medical University who is accused of making two female pharmacy students fail their exams after they refused to have sex with him has counter claimed damages for defamation of character from the students.
Philistone Nyirenda contended that the allegations of sexual harassment made by the two students had lowered his reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society.
This is in a matter where Sandra Mubanga and Carol Saili have dragged Nyirenda and their learning institution to court seeking a declaration that Apex Medical University breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive learning environment when it failed to consider their complaints of sexual harassment against its employee.
Mubanga and Saili claimed that Nyirenda, a lecturer and head of laboratory department at Apex, caused them to fail their exams after they refused to have sex with him.
In their statement of claim, Mubanga and Saili claimed that some time this year, on several occasions, Nyirenda made various sexual advances towards them but they refused to give in to his demands after which he promised and threatened them that they would fail their exams if he did not have sex with them.
But in his defense, Nyirenda denied allegations by Mubanga and Saili saying he was not responsible for marking any of the examination scripts as the University Senate was the final decision maker regarding who passes and fails exams.
Nyirenda, who denied being an employee of Apex University, charged that the students failed examinations because they were not prepared and could not blame him for their own lack of preparedness.
“The first defendant (Nyirenda) vehemently denies making sexual advances towards the plaintiffs (Mubanga and Saili) and will aver at trial that at no point did he make any sexual advances to the plaintiffs whatsoever. The plaintiffs will be put to strict proof in respect of their baseless allegations,” Nyirenda said.
“At no time did the second defendant threaten to fail the plaintiffs, he is not even responsible for marking any of the examination scripts. In any case the final decision regarding who passed and fails was made by the University Senate”.
Nyirenda is now counter claiming for damages for defamation of character arising from false accusations of sexual harassment and advances.
“The first defendant is claiming damages for defamation of character and for reputational injury arising from false allegations that he made sure the plaintiffs would fail the exams when he has no authority to mark exams and later influence the outcome which is a preserve of the Senate,” he said.
The lecturer is also seeking aggravated damages for mental anguish.
He also wants any other reliefs the court may deem fit, costs of and incidental to the proceedings.