ASSOCIATED Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), represented by its finance manager Zweli Sibanda, editor Stanley Gama and journalist Thomas Fungai Kwaramba, yesterday made an application for refusal of further remand in the matter in which they are facing charges of criminally defaming businessman Kamal Khalfan.
In their application before Harare magistrate Milton Serima, the trio argued that there was no evidence to suggest that there was any criminal defamation.
“There is no evidence to suggest any criminal defamation, which would have been shown through official publication of a statement with the intention to harm or it should have been false,” ANZ lawyer Gilbert Machingambi said. “There is no reasonable ground that the statement was false and the criminal defamation charge falls away.”
ANZ is accused of contravening sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Allegations are that on January 6 this year Gama, Kwaramba and the ANZ published a story with the intention of harming Khalfan’s reputation after reporting that Khalfan boasted about his connections to top government officials and how he could arrange deals with the Zimbabwean government.
It is alleged that The Daily News published a false statement about Khalfan again on January 7, which read: “This comes in the wake of the Daily News story exposing claims by Omani businessman Kamal Khalfan that he is politically connected and could assist in clinching multi-million-dollar deals with Harare established through his political connections. Khalfan’s e-mail exchange with a German businessman brings to the fore the widely held belief that ministers and other top government officials are being used to siphon billions of dollars worth of resources from Zimbabwe.”
The Daily News is accused of publishing another defamatory statement about Khalfan on January 29. The trio is out on free bail.