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Chinese mechanic fined K2,500 for defamation

MUTINTA MULAYE writes

THE Boma Local Court in Lusaka has ordered a 29-year-old Chinese to compensate his colleague with K2, 500 for tarnishing his name in front of his co-workers.

This is in a case in which Joseph Sakala, 40, a mechanic of Matero sued Lee Peng for accusing him of having replaced his car turbo charger.

Sakala told Senior Local Court Magistrate Silvia Kabunda he repairs nozzles and injector pumps.

“When Mr Lee has a problem, he comes to me and I repair for him. Last month, our boss fixed his nozzles and took them to his car,

“Mr Lee phoned our company and said his car was emitting smoke. When I went there, I was allowed to leave with his car so that I can fix what was wrong,’ Mr Sakala said.

He later advised Mr Lee to have the turbo charger changed and left with his car.

His boss then told him to give the car a test drive to see if it was really smoking and when he did, they noticed the car was not smoking but that the turbo charger needed replacement.

‘Around 16:00hrs, my boss came shouting at me saying I had changed Mr Lee’s turbo charger but I denied having done so. I went to his garage to talk to him and he insisted that I changed the car part.

“I feared people who were around may start having suspicions that I did what he was accusing me of. They might stop coming to me or referring clients to me,” Mr Sakala said.

He said Mr Lee later went to their workshop and apologized to him for accusing him of changing the turbo charger.

“He told me he wanted us to settle the matter outside court and even wanted to pay me but we didn’t communicate from that time,” he said.

Mr Lee told the court that he did not accuse Mr Sakala of changing the turbo charger of his car but just asked him why the turbo charger was making noise when Mr Sakala took his car back to him.

“I just asked him if he changed it because I know he can’t change it within 20 minutes. I am a mechanic and I know it takes a few hours for a turbo charger to be changed,” Mr Lee said.

From the evidence adduced the court found that defamation of character happened and the probability was very high that Mr Lee spoke those words complained of.

Magistrate Kabunda ordered Mr Lee to compensate Mr Sakala with K2, 500.

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