Prosecutors to consider Khalfan case against the Daily News

HARARE - The criminal defamation charges being levelled against the Group Editor of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publishers of the Daily News,  Stanley Gama, and senior writer Fungi Kwaramba have been referred to the prosecutor general's office for consideration.

The two were arrested on Monday and spent three hours at Highlands Police Station where they signed warned and cautioned statements before being released.

Stanley Gama, the Group Editor of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publishers of the Daily News, right, and senior writer Fungi Kwaramba, centre, leave the Harare Magistrates Court Wednesday. Picture: Annie Mpalume

The investigating officer later in the day phoned to advice Gama and Kwaramba to report to the magistrate court Wednesday morning.

This followed a report filed by controversial businessman, Kamal Khalfan, over stories linking the Omani citizen to alleged underhand deals in Zimbabwe.

Renowned Harare lawyer Alec Muchadehama, who is representing the two scribes, accompanied the duo at the Harare Magistrates' Court Wednesday morning, where the matter was due to be heard.

"The matter has been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority's office for opinion and direction. They are going to seek the prosecutor-general's opinion," Muchadehama said.

Khalfan, who owns Catercraft among other businesses, has also sued the Daily News for a whopping $10 million in a civil lawsuit before the High Court.

Khalfan's case has brought under the spotlight Zimbabwe's controversial and draconian Criminal Defamation laws, which the government says it wants scrapped as it infringes on human rights.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, Jonathan Moyo, has already lambasted powerful and well-connected individuals who use the police to arrest journalists in cases which he says should be resolved at the civil courts.

"We have previously placed on record that in our view criminal defamation is not only outdated and incompatible with the values and ideals of the liberation struggle with respect to human rights and freedoms but also, and more importantly, criminal defamation is inconsistent with our new Constitution," Moyo said on Monday.

He further said criminal defamation could not be sustained in the courts and consequently called for its scrapping.

"This does not mean anyone has a right to lie but that defamation is better handled through civil and not criminal litigation in accordance with our new Constitution which in Section 63(5) makes clear that freedom of expression and freedom of the media do not include malicious injury to a person's reputation or dignity," he said.

Khalfan -- who holds a British passport and is the honorary counsel of the Sultan of Oman -- accuses Gama, Kwaramba and ANZ of having published material when there was "real risk or possibility that it might be false in material" thereby risking causing "serious" harm to his reputation.

The Daily News denies the allegations and is defending the action.

Meanwhile, Gama and the Daily News' Executive Deputy Editor Chris Goko were also called to the police on Wednesday to make further clarifications regarding another defamation case reported to authorities last year by maverick Bikita West legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke.

The questioning bordered around a letter purportedly written by Kereke to the speaker of Parliament, seeking immunity and protection to source information allegedly implicating former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono in various acts of fraud and financial impropriety.

They told the police that they were not the source of the letter.

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Comments (13)

We have always said this Khalfan guy is dodgy. How does one hold a Btritish passport and purports to be an honorary consul of another sovereign state? We have told you a lot about the questionable past of this bloke. He used to live in Zanzibar and the Tanzanian government declared him persona non grata before he mysteriously found his way into Zimbabwe. We want the truth. He must never be allowed to use his political connections and corruption to silence our media. We have the right to know. Prosecutor General Tomana, it is against public interest to prosecute these journalist. They are performing a national service.

Truth - 9 April 2014

"Dhora Mubhegi" for the chefs versus "Suffer Continue" for the povo!!!!!

KM - 9 April 2014

Rambai makashinga akomana...

Luchie - 9 April 2014

Ayewa vakomana, lets not support zvinhu zvakaipa. Some of the things that daily news calls news these days hazviite. Misleading headlines, half truths and lies. It's far from the daily news of old. You can't just go around publishing things that will affect others negatively. As for this guy who is suing, I don't know enough about him to comment.

Vashe - 9 April 2014

@Vashe, I certainly don't relate to the Daily News you are referring to hear. Are you sure you are not confusing the people's paper with some other newspapers. I also have to say that the relaunched Daily News bites harder and tells it more like it is than when it was banned.

Musorodamba - 9 April 2014

Vashe,the arresting of journalists is just not right.Why not prove one's innocence than intimidate journalists?

RUNGANO - 10 April 2014

Vashe,the arresting of journalists is just not right.Why not prove one's innocence than intimidate journalists?

RUNGANO - 10 April 2014

Vashe,the arresting of journalists is just not right.Why not prove one's innocence than intimidate journalists?

RUNGANO - 10 April 2014

Vashe,the arresting of journalists is just not right.Why not prove one's innocence than intimidate journalists?

RUNGANO - 10 April 2014

no one is above the law.munhu wese kana ane zvinofungidzirwa kuti akanya ngaatestwe (ngaasungwe) anobvunzisiswa.dailynews are just crying for nothing everyday seeking sympathy from Zimbabweans,they don't have something else to write.if they are innocent why fear.

plenty - 10 April 2014

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CARTRIDGEGALLERY - 10 April 2014

I think we have gone back to the days of bashing media practitioners when they publish information that is considered not suitable for public consumption by the powers that be. This has nothing to do with the authenticity of what was published. Its the high and lofty ones using the system to intimidate scribes! Aluta Continua!

Juju Dubulibhunu - 10 April 2014

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