Gandawa slaps Nguni with $500k suit

HARARE - Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa has filed a $500 000 defamation suit against the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) commissioner Goodson Nguni.

According to summons filed last Friday, the suit is emanating from a press conference that was held in Harare in October last year, where Nguni — in charge of investigations — reportedly made certain averments that allegedly defamed Gandawa.

“The plaintiff (Gandawa)’s claim is for general damages in the sum of $500 000 for defamation of character arising from the utterances made by the defendant (Nguni) at a press conference he held in Harare on October 13, 2016,” Gandawa said.

In terms of the court papers, Nguni made claims that Gandawa paid back a $70 000 loan to Barclays Bank through funds he allegedly stole from the Zimdef (Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund).

The court further heard that, Nguni also said Gandawa had paid rentals for a number of ladies and girlfriends and buying personal furniture using money he allegedly stole from Zimdef.

During the press conference, Gandawa claimed Nguni also accused him of lying of having used Zimdef funds for the benefit of Zanu PF, when in actual fact the party never received the said funds.

“The defendant’s utterances at the press conference referred to above were broadcast and widely publicised in both electronic and print media. The aforesaid utterances were not only false but defamatory and meant to scandalise the plaintiff and tarnish his image. The defendant’s utterances were meant to portray the plaintiff as a thief, who is promiscuous and not fit to be a government minister and a Member of Parliament.

“As a result of the defendant’s utterances that were widely publicised, plaintiff suffered in his reputation and has been lowered in the estimation of his friends and the general public,” Gandawa said.

Gandawa — through his lawyers from Kantor and Immerman — further told the court that he is a government minister, a respected academic and a scientist.

“He is a respected politician and he is a happily married man,” the court heard.

He said that he initially issued a letter of demand to Nguni asking him to retract his statements and offer an unqualified apology on October 20, 2017.

“In spite of proper demand the defendant has failed and or refused to apologise to the plaintiff,” he said.

Nguni has not yet responded to the application.

 

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