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Zimpapers in $50 000 lawsuit

The Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) group has been sued by CMED (Private) Ltd for $50 000 in defamation damages following publication of an ...

The Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) group has been sued by CMED (Private) Ltd for $50 000 in defamation damages following publication of an alleged offensive article which came out in The Herald issue of August 22 this year.

The story accused top officials at the parastatal of being involved in shady deals, swindling the government of millions of dollars in fuel deals.

In the claim, CMED said the alleged defamatory article stated that its senior officials collected fuel from the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) purportedly for government business and diverted it to private service stations for resale.

The parastatal said the article was untrue and highly defamatory.

“Consequently, plaintiff (CMED) suffered damages for defamation in the sum of $50 000 which despite demand defendants (The Herald editor Caeser Zvayi and reporter Freeman Razemba) have either failed, refused or neglected to pay,” CMED said in its declaration.

“The publication, writing and circulation of the said article was palpable calculated to and indeed injure and defame the plaintiff in its good corporate name and standing in the eyes of the public as well as the relevant stakeholders within the business throughout the world.
Zimpapers in $50 000 lawsuit
“The said words in the context of the article are wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff in that they were intended and were understood by the readers of the newspaper that the plaintiff is one of those quasi-government institutions which tolerates acts of corruption or impropriety seriously.”

CMED further argues the published article did not reflect the correct position but misrepresented facts which amounted to defamation.

“The said article was materially false in fact as no senior official/s of plaintiff stood accused of or being or was ever investigated for any such scam. As it stands it tarnishes the good image of the plaintiff, (CMED Pvt Ltd), in its capacity as juristic person and not the alleged so-called senior officials,” the parastatal said.

“The plaintiff was defamed in its corporate name and has as a result suffered materially in its corporate standing and credibility further negative ramifications impending.”

The respondents have since entered an appearance to defend notices.