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Orange sued for defamation

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Orange sued for defamation
WE'RE CLEAN: Chilinde-Masebu has defended the company

Mobile network company Orange Botswana was this week slapped with court papers, charged with ‘invasion of privacy’.

This was after a woman, cited in court papers as their employee, posted defamatory statements about an apparent love rival on Facebook using an Orange client’s Facebook account.

In the fresh court papers, Orange Botswana is charged together with Huawei Technologies Botswana and their employee Tsaone Morewagae.

In the documents that were served to the respondents this week, he complainant Veronica Karengwa, has slapped Orange with a lawsuit of P435 000.00.

According to papers exclusively seen by The Voice, Karengwa had bought a Huawei P 9-con cellphone from an Orange shop at the Riverwalk branch.

It is alleged that on December 29, 2016, Karengwa returned the phone to Orange stores in Riverwalk for installation of certain applications and features whereupon she was assisted by Morewagae.

“On or about 29th December 2016 the plaintiff (Karengwa) returned the said purchase phone to the 1st defendant (Orange) for installation of certain application and features whereupon she was assisted by the 3rd defendant (Morewagae), an employee of the 1st and 2nd defendants who was at all material times stationed at the 1st defendants Riverwalk branch and was at6 all times acting within the course and scope of her employment as a sales person for 2nd defendant and shop assistant for the 1st defendant,” reads the lawsuit.

According to Karengwa, upon returning her phone to Orange she was told to leave it overnight at the Riverwalk shop branch where the installation was to be done.

She says she agreed with the Orange shop assistant and complied to the instruction that she should collect the phone the following day.

“However to the plaintiff’s surprise and disbelief after the collection of her phone from the defendants, she was detained and interrogated by the members of the Police service on or about December 30, 2016 on allegations that she had publicly posted offensive and insulting statements.”

Karengwa says she was harassed, ridiculed and stigmatized on a public forum on Facebook and as a result of Orange’s employee she suffered trauma.

She also claims that her reputation was tainted by Orange, Huawei and its employee hence demanding damages of invasion of her privacy amounting to P 150 000.

She is also seeking compensation of P 30 000.00 being damages for wrongful interrogation by the Police and P 45 000 for the shock and trauma she suffered.

She also wants P 135 00 being damages for the public stigma, ridicule and harassment she went through because of Orange Botswana, Huawei Botswana and its Employee.

She also wants an added P 75 000 for the damage caused to her reputation.

When using the client’s phone, the Orange employee allegedly posted the statement: “Girl e e tseneletse kampa ya e thuba. Beware her name ke Oneal Ntshotshi”

She later apologized using her account to say “latetly I tarnished someone’s name O’neal Ntshotshi fr my bitterness n insecurity.. to be honest ne ke mo jela nama fela.. all I said ga se nnete… I used Veronica Kabengwa’s acc and #s wen I was fixin her fone at mi wrk place and for that sorry”.

The Voice has been informed that the orange employee posted the information on social media allegedly trying to get back at her Botswana Defence force (BDF) lover who was allegedly cheating on her with another woman.

For fear of getting caught, Morewagae allegedly used the client’s phone and later deleted the posts.

The case is yet to be heard in court with a possibility of Orange Botswana, Huawei Botswana and Morewagae settling the matter out of court.

Reached for comment, Orange Botswana spokesperson, Boga Chilinde-Masebu, confirmed that they received the summons but distanced the mobile company from any association with Morewagae.

In response to The Voice inquiries Chilinde-Masebu said: “Orange Botswana has been wrongfully cited in the mentioned case.The employee in question is employed by Huawei and not Orange.

The said employee has never been an Orange employee nor an Orange agent.

I would like to reinforce that as a mobile operator we are vigilant when it comes to protection of our customers privacy because that is our responsibility.

So we have strict processes in place to guard against any incident that would compromise our clients’s privacy and security,” she said.