Apex University disowns ‘sex for grades’ lecturer

The Lusaka Apex University has denied ever employing a lecturer accused of making sexual advances towards two female students while promising to make them pass the exams.

The University has further counter sued the same students in the Lusaka High Court, demanding damages for loss of reputation, as well as, an apology and retraction of the false claims.

It has lamented that the sexual harassment claims have caused its students and general public to loose confidence in the University and has brought the University’s business into odium and contempt.

In this matter, Sandra Mubanga and Carol Saili have sued Philistone Nyirenda in the Lusaka High Court for allegedly making various sexual advances towards them and promising to make them pass the exams.

The two claimed that after refusing the sexual requests, Nyirenda, who they said is a lecturer and Head of Laboratory Department at the University, vowed to ensure that they failed the exams, which actually came to pass.

Mubanga and Saili, both fourth year students in the faculty of Pharmacy at Lusaka Apex Medical University, also sued the institution, seeking a declaration that it has breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive environment for learning.

But in the University’s defence and counterclaim filed in the Lusaka High Court, the institution stated that it would aver at trial that Nyirenda had never been employed by University as a lecturer or as Head of Laboratory Department.

Apex further denied that the two students reported Nyirenda’s conduct to the University but nothing was done, adding that Mubanga and Saili will at trial be put to strict proof thereof.

Apex University stated that the report it received from Mubanga and Saili were of a different nature and not sexual harassment and further denied the claim that the institution did nothing in response to the report.

The institution also denied that the two students went back to the Dean of Faculty due to the persistent conduct of Nyirenda.

Apex University also denied that Mubanga and Saili had suffered loss and damage.

“The second defendant (Apex University) denies the plaintiffs claims that it breached it’s contractual obligation to provide a conducive learning environment as well as proper administration of exams to the plaintiffs,” read its defence.

“The second defendant denies each and every allegation in the plaintiffs statement of claim as if the same were set out herein and paragraph by paragraph and traversed seriatim.”

And in its counterclaim, the University lamented that Mubanga and Saili’s false statements have caused the University’s reputation to be unjustly harmed.

“The plaintiffs (Mubanga and Saili) caused to be published on Prime TV news which was wired on October 2, 2019 and subsequently on other print and electronic media, falsehoods about university. The plaintiffs made false statements by claiming that they had “reported the sexual harassment claims to the university and that the university had failed to respond to the report on sexual harassment” when in fact not,” read the counter claim.

“That the statement was defamatory and caused the university’s students and general public to loose confidence in the university and has brought the university’s business into odium and contempt. As a result of the defamatory statement uttered by the plaintiffs, the university has sufferer loss and damage.”

Apex now claims a declaration that the plaintiffs actions were defamatory and an apology and retraction of the false claims on the same platforms the statement was made by the two.

The University is further seeking damages for loss of reputation and economic damages arising from the plaintiffs actions, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.

In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court on October 1, Mubanga and Saili had claimed that sometime this year and on separate occasions, Nyirenda made various sexual advances towards them which were declined.

They stated that when the school schedule drew closer to exams, Nyirenda relentlessly made various sexual advances towards them and promised to make them pass the exams.

The two added that Nyirenda also threatened to fail them if they did not agree to his sexual requests.

Mubanga and Saili stated that when the exams finally commenced, Nyirenda somehow ensured that he was the one invigilating the exams and would often accuse the two of having sexual relationships with other lecturers in exchange for passing exams.

They stated that they opted to report Nyirenda’s conduct to the University but nothing was done.

The two added that when they further requested the University to allow them sit for deferred exams instead, their request was denied.

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