Zambia: Innscor Boss in Court for Defamation

INNSCOR Africa regional director, Leighton Shaw yesterday appeared in the Lusaka Local Court for defamation of character.

He is alleged to have referred to one of his Zambian employees as a 'Kaffir'.

The matter comes barely three weeks after Innscor Zambia operations director, Jane Skaramangas was deported for abusing employees.

The 42-year-old regional director, who has been in the country for only three weeks to take over the reigns of the company after the departure of Ms Skaramangas, and another deportee, managing director Henry Clarke, has, however, denied having defamed his worker.

George Tembo, 32, the complex manager under Innscor, has sued Shaw claiming compensation for allegedly being referred to as a 'Kaffir', a word Mr Tembo understood to be derogatory.

Kaffir is an offensive and derogatory word usually used to refer to black people, notably during the apartheid era in South Africa.

The matter came before Local Court magistrates Lazarus Mwape, Marble Mwaba and Petland Mwansa.

The court heard that the work relationship between Shaw and Mr Tembo had soured from the time Government deported the two Innscor officials.

Mr Tembo submitted that he was called by Shaw on October 30, this year upon reporting for work.

Shaw allegedly insulted Mr Tembo before telling him that he had been dismissed from work.

He said Shaw accused him of being behind Ms Skaramangas' deportation.

"I am very much surprised to be called a Kaffir and being accused of causing the deportation of Ms Skaramangas which is not true.

"He is a racist and has only worked in Zambia for three weeks and it is not clear whether he has a work permit," Mr Tembo said.

In his defence, Shaw told the court that he had never uttered such a word in his life and in the 10 countries where he had worked.

He accused the plaintiff of stealing some money as well as removing company property from the premises without his permission.

Shaw called two witnesses - Caroline Mubukwaleya, the human resource manager, and Annie Lupezula, a cashier - although the duo admitted that they were not there at the time as they reported late for work.

The court adjourned the matter to Tuesday next week for judgment.

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