ANZ editor opposes further remand

HARARE - Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) group editor, Stanley Gama has applied for refusal of further remand during his next court appearance in a criminal defamation case.

ANZ are the publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.

Gama and senior writer Fungi Kwaramba are in court following a report filed by controversial businessman Kamal Khalfan over stories linking the Omani citizen to underhand deals in Zimbabwe.

Although the application for refusal of further remand was lodged, State prosecutor Venancia Mtake yesterday indicated that she needed time to file her response.Mtake will respond this Thursday.

The two journalists appeared in court with ANZ’s finance manager Zweli Sibanda, who was representing the company.

Through their lawyer, Advocate Zvikomborero Chadambuka instructed by Gilbert Machingambi, the duo submitted that they had no case to answer.

“There is no evidence that suggests criminal defamation,” Chadambuka told magistrate Milton Serima.

“Criminal defamation requires that the publication should exude the intention to harm and that the information published should be false.”

Chadambuka said it was unconstitutional for the complainants to be charged for telling the truth.

He said the section under which the journalists are being charged was ultra vires the new Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression and the media.

“According to the constitution, it is utterly unjust that any person should be charged for telling the truth,” Chadambuka said.

“There is no reasonable ground that what accused persons wrote is false, therefore criminal defamation case should fall away.”

Khalfan is the owner of Catercraft, among other businesses, and has also sued the Daily News for a whopping $10 million in a civil suit before the High Court.

Khalfan — who holds a British passport and is the honorary counsel of the Sultan of Oman — accuses Gama, Kwaramba and ANZ of publishing material with a possibility of causing serious harm to his reputation.

ANZ denies the three counts preferred against the two journalists and is defending the action.

In January, the Daily News carried stories on how businessmen such as Khalfan were using their influence and political connections to introduce dodgy investors to President Robert Mugabe.

According to State papers, the Daily News report had an effect of portraying Khalfan as someone involved in illicit activities of laundering billions of dollars from Zimbabwe and smuggling diamonds and gold through bribing government ministers.

Comments (3)

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