A Lusaka Apex University lecturer, accused of making sexual advances towards two female students, has strongly denied the allegations, saying the two failed examinations because they were not ready and cannot blame him for their own lack of preparedness.
Philistone Nyirenda has further denied being employed as a lecturer by the University, stating that he is a scientist who is in the Faculty of Science and Head of Department responsible for technical and laboratory practicals.
In this matter, Sandra Mubanga and Carol Saili have sued Nyirenda in the Lusaka High Court for allegedly making various sexual advances towards them and promising to make them pass the examinations.
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 examinations, a development that 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 its defence and counterclaim filed in court, Lusaka Apex University stated that Nyirenda had never been employed by the University as a lecturer or as Head of Laboratory Department.
It also denied each and every allegation by the students and further denied that it breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive learning environment as well as proper administration of examinations to the two.
The University also 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 lamented that the sexual harassment claims had caused its students and general public to lose confidence in the University and had brought its business into odium and contempt.
And in his defence filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, Nyirenda also denied that he was employed as a lecturer by the University.
He stated that he is a scientist who is in the Faculty of Science and Head of Department responsible for Technical and Laboratory practicals.
Nyirenda also denied making sexual advances towards the two students, adding that Mubanga and Saili will be put to strict proof in respect of their baseless allegations.
“The first defendant (Nyirenda) vehemently denies making sexual advances towards the plaintiffs (Mubanga and Saili) and will aver 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,” read Nyirenda’s defence.
Nyirenda further stated that at no time did he threaten to fail Mubanga and Saili, arguing that he was not even responsible for marking any of the examination scripts.
He added in any case, the final decision regarding who passed and failed was made by the University Senate.
Nyirenda, however, admitted that he was assigned to invigilate examinations, but stated that there was nothing strange about it since like other members of staff, this was part of his job.
But he vehemently denied accusations by the two students of having sexual relations with other lecturers to pass exams and that they will be put to strict proof, thereof.
Nyirenda denied that he ever conducted a body search on Mubanga and Saili and will aver that like other students, steps were generally taken to prevent cheating in the examinations by all the invigilators.
He admitted that Mubanga and Saili reported to the University of their dissatisfaction with the measures that were put in place to avoid examination cheating as they felt they were being targeted.
“Nyirenda will aver that the plaintiffs were assured that they were not being targeted,” read the defence.
Nyirenda stated that the two students failed the examinations because they were simply not ready and cannot blame him for their own lack of preparedness.
He added that they were, therefore, not entitled to any of the reliefs they sought.