Mutare town clerk defends $120 000 defamation lawsuit

MUTARE town clerk Joshua Maligwa, who was last month slapped with a $120 000 lawsuit for allegedly defaming Shitazburg Enterprises director Anderson Mwashita, has filed a notice to defend himself.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Maligwa allegedly described Mwashita as a fugitive from justice, whose company reportedly swindled the local municipality of $330 000.

The Mutare town clerk, who is being represented by Messers Bere Brothers, filed the notice recently at the Mutare High Court circuit.

“Summons were served on the defendant on December 19, 2018,” the application read.

“Take notice that the defendant (Joshua Maligwa) has entered an appearance to defend the above action.”

Shitazburg Enterprises reportedly failed to supply water pipes in a botched transaction after council had made the necessary payment.

Mwashita, in December last year, filed the lawsuit at the Mutare High Court through his lawyer, Mvere Chikamhi.

The lawsuit comes after Maligwa had engaged police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to help recover the $330 000 from Mwashita.

Maligwa was quoted in the lawsuit as saying that Mwashita’s whereabouts were unknown, but that the police would soon catch up with him.

In the lawsuit, Mwashita said that he was not on the run and had already approached police over the matter.

“The plaintiff (Mwashita) approached the police and realised that the information was false, as there was no other report which was pending and was not being required by the police. The defendant’s statements are defamatory as they can be interpreted to mean that the plaintiff is not a law-abiding citizen and is always running away from the police,” part of the suit read.

Mwashita said his image had been tarnished and that negatively impacted on his business.

“Plaintiff, Mwashita, is a businessman and his image has been tarnished as all his business colleagues now believe he is a parson who cannot be trusted as he is a fugitive from justice. Since the publication (of the utterances), the plaintiff has lost a number of contracts and clients as people now believe he is a fugitive from justice,” the suit reads.

“Wherefore the plaintiff’s claim is for: (a) payment of $120 000 being damages of defamation of character, (b) 10% collection commission, (c) interest at the prescribed rate from the date.”

Shitazburg Enterprises reportedly won a tender to supply water pipes to Mutare Municipality in 2010.

Council paid the company $330 000 as deposit to supply the pipes, but the local authority claims nothing has been delivered to date.