Former Chreso University Vice Chancellor Dr Lawrence Mwelwa has sued the University Council in the Lusaka High Court, seeking damages for libel for allegedly accusing him of previously making some transactions purported to be on behalf of the university when in fact not.
Dr Mwelwa is further seeking payment of K1,061,699 being his dues following his resignation and interest, among other claims.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry on Monday, Dr Mwelwa explained that around April last year, government, in an effort to clamp down on many universities, passed a regulation to the effect that only academicians with 10 years post-PhD experience would be allowed to be Vice Chancellors in any university.
He added that following the said regulation, he discussed his position with Reverend Reutter and indicated that he was unable to continue in that position.
“As such there was a restructuring and Mwelwa was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Council Secretary of Chreso University,” read the statement of claim.
Dr Mwelwa stated that as a result of the regulation, the Council of Chreso University hired Professor Nsenduluka as the new Vice Chancellor who, however, served only for two months and left.
He stated that the University Council, thereafter, recruited Dr Christopher Simoonga as Vice Chancellor.
Dr Mwelwa claimed that the recruitment of Dr Simoonga led to the change in working relationships, adding that the latter started making changes in departments without consulting him as the former Vice Chancellor, resulting in a hostile environment.
He stated that when he went on leave for three months in February, this year, he was informed that the Human Resource Officer had been sent on forced leave after being asked to load all files into a van, and that his personal secretary was relieved of her duties, while his office was taken without any handover.
Dr Mwelwa disclosed that upon his return from leave, he was served with a letter putting him on suspension for allegations of among others, theft, fraud and accepting bribes.
He added that he consequently resigned from his employment.
“In response to Mwelwa’s resignation letter, the defendant claimed K400,000 allegedly being money for the purchase of the Chamba Valley plot when in fact Mwelwa bought the said plot at K50,000,” read the statement of claim further.
Dr Mwelwa stated that on June 12, this year, Chreso University maliciously caused to be published, defamatory words in the New Vision newspaper, informing the general public that he was no longer an employee of the university, and that any transaction or publication made by him on behalf of the university will not be honoured by the university management.
He lamented that the words in their natural and ordinary meaning meant and were understood to mean that he had previously made some transactions purported to be made on behalf of the university when in fact not.
Dr Mwelwa added that the said words were further understood by right-thinking persons, generally, that he had carried out transactions purportedly owing the university monies when in fact not.
He further lamented that as a result of the said words, his character, credit and reputation had been severely injured, he had been perceived to be dishonest and had been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.
Dr Mwelwa now claims damages for libel contained in the notice maliciously published in the New Vision newspaper and an order that the said notice be withdrawn and an apology carried in the same paper in order to repair his damaged reputation.
He further wants payment of K1,061,699, being his dues following his resignation, interest, cost and any other relief.