Man successfully sues OK Zim Ltd
A HARARE man who sued retail group, OK Zimbabwe Limited for US$350 000 in damages after being wrongly accused of fraudulently winning a prize in the 2010 edition of the OK Grand Challenge Jackpot Promotion, will receive US$8 500 instead, after the Supreme Court confirmed a previous ruling in his favour.
Eric Musundire, who won a microwave during the retail store’s 2010 grand challenge was, together with two others, arrested at the instigation of OK Zimbabwe’s risk and services manager, Orbone Mawere, who had claimed that he had been tipped of the possible fraud through an anonymous telephone call.
Mawere, a former assistant commissioner in the Zimbabwe Republic Police became the complainant, the arresting officer as well as the investigating officer in the case resulting in the trio spending three nights in what they described as horrible conditions in different police cells.
It was later proven that Musundire and the other suspects were indeed genuine customers who had cleanly won in the competition. As a result, Musundire sued the retail group for US$350 000.
Of his total claim, US$100 000 was defamation, US$50 000 for crimen injuria and contumelia and US$200 000 for unlawful arrest.
During the hearing of the case by High Court judge Justice Francis Bere in 2012, the defamation charges fell away, leaving the other two claims that were treated as one for the purposes of quantifying damages.
Justice Bere ruled in Musundire’s favour, but later dismissed his remaining US$250 000 claim as “overzealously high and unacceptable” before awarding him US$8 500. Aggrieved by the judgment, OK Zimbabwe took the matter to the Supreme Court.
Justice Paddington Garwe, sitting with Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Ben Hlatshwayo at the Supreme Court, last week upheld Justice Bere’s ruling that OK Zimbabwe should pay Musundire US$8 500 as compensation for injury and loss of dignity he suffered as a result of his unlawful arrest.
The courts ruled that in causing Musundire’s arrest and detention, Mawere had acted recklessly and maliciously but he had done so in his capacity as OK Zimbabwe’s risk and loss manager.
The Supreme Court also agreed with the High Court that refused to entertain OK Zimbabwe’s argument that the small print at the back of competition coupons — which purport to indemnify it against any reckless and malicious conduct of its employees —should give it protection against such lawsuits.