BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Leopard Rock Hotel has dismissed allegations that it fired 15 interns for breaking a teapot lid, saying the disciplinary action against the students was related to dishonesty.
An online publication – Post of Sunday – which carried the story has been threatened with a US$1 million lawsuit for alleged defamation by the hotel owner, Samir Shasha.
The story published on August 24 under the headline, “15 attaches fired over broken teapot lid,” has been dismissed by Shasha’s lawyers as not factual.
Maunga and Maanda Associates, wrote a letter of demand to the publication on August 30 demanding a retraction.
“In reality, the students were expelled for dishonesty after the fact,” reads part of the letter from the lawyers.
“The student, who was responsible for the breakage failed to enter the breakage into the breakages book and the matter came only to light after the proprietor Mr Samir Shasha discovered the breakage himself.
“Upon being asked to come forward, the responsible student chose not to.
“The student and the rest of the group were given 24 hours to rectify their oversight but chose not to as part of group decision, leading to their expulsion.”
The lawyers said the article portrayed Shasha as an unreasonable person.
“In the article, it was stated that our client was frothing and fuming with rage while barking instructions to dismiss the attaches,” the letter added.
“The said words in the context of the article, are wrongful and defamatory to our client in that they were intended and understood by readers of the article to mean that our client is not a sensible man in the following aspect: he dismissed the attaches on something trivial, did not care about their studies and that he did not have any concern about their general welfare.”
The publication has since retracted the story.
In the apology, The Post on Sunday said: “The unintended consequences of the story and impugning of Mr Shasha character is sincerely regretted.
“We are satisfied that Mr Shasha was trying to inculcate a culture of honesty and accountability.”