Mutinta Mulaye writes
A Turkish national has been charged by the Boma Local Court in Lusaka to compensate his former workmate with K2, 000 for accusing him of being a thief and getting him fired.
This was a case in which Owen Zulu, 47, of Chipata compound took Okesh Kutoglu to court and told senior local court magistrate Gastone Kalala that he wanted Kutoglu to compensate him for ruining his name.
Zulu said he and Kutoglu worked together in construction and they were both supervisors.
“On September 23, he came to the site around 10:00 hrs and found me working. I had already given all the materials to the workers. He called me and said there was a shortage of cement in the container,” he said.
“He told me he counted the bags of cement and I told him the workers had already started working and used some of it. He insisted and told me he would take me to the police and chase me,” he said.
Zulu said Kutoglu told him to stop working and that the boss would come get him. He said he went to the boss’ office where he explained what happened.
“The boss got the accountant and said I would be paid for the days I worked and my contract was terminated,” he said.
Kutoglu told the court that he was counting the bags of cement on Saturday and found that they were 75.
“When I counted them on Monday there were 92. That day only three bags were removed so they were 78 in total on that day, meaning 14 bags were missing,” he said.
He said he called Zulu and asked him where the rest of the bags were but Zulu told him he was just confused.
“I never called him a thief. But him and his friend camp at the site. Also the grinder machine went missing. I had the keys to the container but there was no sign of break in,” he said.
The court found that there was no written evidence that there were initially 92 bags of cement as Kutoglu said. Zulu was fired because Kutoglu blamed him for stealing cement. Possibility of theft was there but no written evidence of the initial number of the bags of cement. Kutoglu therefore defamed Zulu. Magistrate Kalala ordered him to compensate Zulu with K2, 000.