Wednesday, October 16, 2013

(HERALD ZW) NewsDay slapped with US$100m lawsuit
September 21, 2013
Farai Kuvirimirwa Court Reporter

ZANU-PF Central Committee member Cde William Mutomba and businesswoman Mrs Smelly Dube have filed a lawsuit against NewsDay, claiming US$100 million in damages after the paper allegedly published a defamatory article against them.According to papers filed under case number 7561/13, Alpha Media Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, their suspended editor Constantine Chimakure, reporter Blessed Mhlanga and lawyer Mr Valentine Mutatu, of Mahuni and Mutatu legal practitioners, are cited as first, second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.

Papers filed by Sachikonye-Ushe legal practitioners indicate that the matter arose after the newspaper published an article titled ‘Supreme Court brings finality to Midkwe Wrangle’ on September 4 which they said injured their feelings and impaired their dignity in society.

It is alleged that the article written by Mhlanga was full of malicious falsehoods where he confirmed that Australian born Lee Waverley Jones was the legitimate owner of Chaka Gold Plant situated in Kwekwe.

“Jones had accused Mutomba of grabbing the mine from him. All along Mutomba’s company had been conducting illegal mining activities at the mine,” read part of the article.

The lawyers argue that Mhlanga deliberately lied that the Supreme Court had ordered the plaintiffs to vacate Chaka Gold Plant and mine when it had dismissed an appeal filed by Midkwe Minerals (Pvt) Ltd.

The lawyers further argue that Cde Mutomba and Mrs Dube were not parties to the dismissed appeal.

“The third defendant (Mhlanga) deliberately and maliciously lied that Cde Mutomba and Mrs Dube had taken the law into their own hands by illegally and forcibly ‘grabbing’ the said mine from Australian born Jones.

“Mhlanga, acting in connivance with other defendants involved the first plaintiff (Cde Mutomba) when he is neither a director nor a shareholder of Midkwe Minerals,” read the papers.

The papers indicated that the article portrayed the pair as people who were abusing their respective Zanu-PF and influential business positions by illegally wrestling away from legitimate owners which they say is not true.

“The malicious falsehoods exposed the plaintiffs who are public figures, to ridicule and contempt from their business and political associates, relatives, workmates and acquaintances, who have since shunned them.

“Words in the context of the article were understood by readers of the newspaper that the plaintiffs were people who were illegally acquiring properties in the name of Zanu PF,” Cde Mutomba and Mrs Dube argued.

It is further indicated that the duo suffered damages in the sum of US$50 million apiece for which all the respondents are jointly and liable.

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