CIO boss Bonyongwe loses US$15 million ‘windfall’

A HIGH court judge has described as strange a decision to award Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Happyton Bonyongwe US$10 million for a defamation claim.

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Bonyongwe demanded the compensation from then Africa Consolidated Resources chief executive Andrew Cranswick over a WikiLeaks report linking the spy chief to diamond smuggling at Marange.

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The default judgement against Cranswick was granted by High Court Judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo in 2012.

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However, quashing the default ruling on Wednesday Justice Happias Zhou said the US$10 million award was strange considering that most damages awarded since the introduction of the multi-currency system ranged from $2 000 to $7 000.

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The judge was ruling on a Cranswick’s challenge against the default determination.

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“Taking into account all the relevant factors, I am convinced that good and sufficient cause has been established for this court to set aside the default judgment,” said the judge.

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“The effect of my order is to reinstate the applicant’s defence which was struck out. In the result, it is ordered that the order granted in Case Number 275 /11 in default of the applicant on November 16, 2012 be and is hereby set aside.” – newzim