Former director of health services at Kwekwe City Council, Alva Senderayi, was yesterday castigated for seeking to make a fortune by filing a $150 000 civil defamation lawsuit against Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) over a “non-defamatory” article published by NewsDay four years ago.
By CHARLES LAITON
AMH lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu accused Senderayi of pursuing a frivolous and unsubstantiated claim against the newspaper instead of attending “ailing patients” at his surgery in Kwekwe.
However, Senderayi said he took the matter to court because his reputation was at stake and that his clientelé base had declined following publication of the story involving him.
As cross-examination continued, Mpofu accused Senderayi of lying under oath and misleading the court by fabricating and falsifying information, which assertion Senderayi dismissed.
Tempers flared when Senderayi’s lawyer Advocate Ray Goba objected Mpofu’s line of cross-examination, claiming he (Mpofu) was not conversant with the procedure. Mpofu pleaded with High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere to intervene and admonish Advocate Goba.
Justice Ndewere later stepped in and ordered the proceedings to continue.
The lawsuit against AMH was filed sometime in 2011 with Senderayi claiming damages over a story titled Golden handshake for former director, which was published in NewsDay on February 7.
Senderayi’s argument was that the NewsDay story had misrepresented facts by alleging that he had been illegally dismissed and offered $30 000 by Kwekwe City Council as an exit package.
He also claimed he had not been dismissed from work and that the article had defamed him as a professional doctor of high standing in society.
While giving his evidence in court on Wednesday, Senderayi, however, admitted that he was fired by the local authority and he took his former paymasters to court which ruled in his favour.
He also admitted that although what was contained in the story was correct, he felt he should have been given audience to add his voice in the story and clarify certain issues to the public.
AMH Editor-in-Chief Vincent Kahiya also gave evidence in the matter and maintained the story was correct and that there was no reason for the newspaper company to apologise or issue a retraction.
“The truth of the matter is he (Senderayi) was dismissed from the council, he met Albert Zingwe, he was recorded and that his package was discussed in the council meeting,” Kahiya argued.