Northcote Private School at Ondangwa filed a defamation lawsuit at the Oshakati High Court against its board chairperson, Benedict Mulife.
In court documents, the school claims that on 18 July last year Mulife authored a petition to the school and allegedly widely circulated the said petition.
In the petition, Mulife allegedly made false accusations concerning the school.
The school claims that Mulife alleged that the school management lacks operational capacity to take decisions about the administrative issues of the school and that the school lacks capable hands to manage its affairs.
It is also alleged that Mulife accused the school of unfairly dismissing 13 teachers and it refused to pay its employees because they had joined a labour union.
The school further alleged that Mulife further made the petition availale to Omulunga Radio, The Namibian and Eagle FM for the media to publish the false and defamatory information about the school.
“The defendant’s (Mulife’s) abovementioned unlawful conduct is a breach of trust in terms of how internal affairs of such an institution should be handled and also a complete violation of the oath which was undertaken by the defendant when the defendant assumed the position of chairperson of the school board of the plaintiff (school),” the school said.
As a result of the publication and circulation of the statements made by Mulife, the school claims its reputation and business were gravely injured such that it was at risk of losing pupils to its competitors.
“As a result of the defamatory and false suggestions, innuendos, insinuations and statements made by the defendant, the context in which they were made, the aggravating features pleaded above, and the impact thereof on the plaintiff’s reputation, the injury to plaintiff’s business, the plaintiff has suffered damages in the amount of N$500 000,” the school said.
The school added, “In view of the palpable falsity of the allegations made by the defendant and the seriousness of such defamatory allegations, the plaintiff is entitled to both a declarator of falsity and an order compelling the defendant to unconditionally retract the allegations and apologise to the plaintiff in addition to compensating the plaintiff.”
In his counterclaim documents, Mulife also claimed he was defamed by the owner of the school and is claiming for N$500 000 in damages.
“The plaintiff (school) must unconditionally retract the statements … and unreservedly apologise to the defendant (Mulife) within five days of the date of the court order for the harm and damage occasioned by his defamatory statements,” Mulife said in the court documents.