A local company believed to be associated with journalist-cum-businessman Supa Mandiwanzira, Vakakora Capital (Pvt) Ltd, is suing two daily publications, NewsDay and Daily News, for $50 million for allegedly scuttling a $250 million loan bid from a Namibian company after exposing violence that gripped the country in May.
Details from the Registrar of Companies show Mandiwanzira as company agent housed at Number 7 Kenilworth Road, Newlands, Harare. The company was registered on November 11, 2008.
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of the Daily News, are cited as the first respondents while Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of NewsDay, are the second respondents.
Vakakora Capital are alleging articles headlined “Violence erupts countrywide” in the NewsDay issue of May 5, 2011 and the Daily News article “Sadc Troika Directive Violated – Prioritise Issue of Violence During Talks”, gave the impression there was instability in Zimbabwe which scuttled their loan deal with Crowne Finance Corporation of Namibia.
Part of the summons reads: “In or about April 2011, the plaintiff (Vakakora Capital (Pvt) Ltd) managed to secure a loan from a company, namely Crown Finance Corporation of Namibia, in the sum of $250 million to finance projects in Zimbabwe.
“However, on May 6, 2011, the said company’s legal practitioners wrote a letter to the plaintiff indicating the loan had been withdrawn and that the signing ceremony for this loan, which had been set for Sandton, Johannesburg, had been cancelled.”
Investigations yesterday showed Crown Finance Corporation was forming an SME (small-to-medium-enterprise) bank in Namibia, but was yet to start lending.
According to the summons, Crown Finance Corporation said they arrived at the decision after they were influenced by the news articles.
The plaintiff alleges the two articles were false and were published negligently without taking reasonable care in establishing the correctness of the contents.
“As a result of the wrongful misrepresentations of the situation in Zimbabwe by the defendants, the plaintiff suffered the loss of withdrawal of its loan of $250 million, which loan would have resulted in the plaintiff earning at least $50 million.”
In addition to the $50 million claim, the company is demanding the two publications foot the legal costs.