MP sued $10 million for defamation

SILOBELA MP Mthokozisi Manoki Mpofu (Zanu PF) is being sued for $10 million by Silobela Community Development Trust chairman Arthur Mzingeli Nkiwane for defamation over claims that the latter is abusing trust funds.

BLESSED MHLANGA

Nkiwane approached the Bulawayo High Court under case HC 3018/15, claiming that Mpofu, who is the Trust’s vice-chairperson, injured his reputation when he accused him of abusing funds and stealing gold from Peace Mine.

According to the suit, the Zanu PF legislator caused the defamatory statements to be published in The People’s Voice and also repeated in Parliament and recorded in the Hansard despite there being no evidence to support the allegations.

“On or about May 8, 2014, in a weekly edition of The People’s Voice newspaper, the defendant uttered, reported and was quoted, as saying that the plaintiff was involved in illegal gold dealings and that he was using the mine (Peace Mine) for his personal benefit,” part of the summons read.

Nkiwane, a war veteran, submitted that the allegations affected his business, political and family interests in that society now believes that he is a thief and a corrupt person, who cannot be trusted.

“The utterances were meant to undermine the confidence that the people of Silobela, the nation, government and the party, Zanu PF, had in the plaintiff, especially as the defendant was aware that the various stakeholders would look into the alleged corruption,” he wrote.

Nkiwane said to the contrary, he was running the Trust transparently and held regular report-back meetings to update the locals and has challenged Mpofu to provide evidence of the alleged corruption.

He wants the MP to pay him $10 million for general damages for defamation which he claimed soiled his name, standing and reputation, saying the allegations have also embarrassed and humiliated him as a result of their publication.

Nkiwane, through his lawyers Ndove, Museta and Partners, wants the MP to also meet the costs of the suit.

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