Nawakwi files defense against HH, says her utterances were fair comment
FDD leader Edith Nawakwi says her utterances on UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema that he was a criminal, acquired property on Serval road in Kabulonga, allegations relating to the receivership of RAMCOZ and the abuse of the privatisation process are of fair comment.
Nawakwi said the said allegations were factual and true in substance as she was expressing her opinion, adding that the words were of fair comment and made without malice as the said facts are a matter of public interest.
This is in a matter where Hichilema has sued Nawakwi for defamation of character demanding US$ 3 million as damages for libel.
In her defense Nawakwi argued that she is not the first person to raise the issue of Hichilema’s acquisition of property No. Subdivision 14/3/A/F488a Serval Road Kabulonga Lusaka claiming The Post Newspaper limited (in liquidation) on Friday May 18,2007 wrote about the said allegations in its editorial, including the Times of Zambia on January 14,2012.
Nawakwi said she admitts that the details relating to the liquidation of Lima Bank limited are supposed to be a matter of public record and they call for accountability and transparency.
She claimed that she had conducted a search at the lands and deeds registry which revealed that on March 28, 1989 a Samson Siatembo mortgaged Farm no. 1924 whose area was 2,415.5580 hectares Kalomo District Southern province to secure K10,600 from Lima Bank limited.
“On September 14,2005 Lima Bank limited (in liquidation) caused the registration of memorandum of discharge of the mortgage relating to Farm no.1924 whose area was 192.9050 hectares,” Nawakwi said
She further stated that Hichilema acquired the said farm at a consideration of k 110,000,000 and the payment of property transfer tax of K3,300,000 was certified by the registrar of lands and deeds on September 14,2004.
Nawakwi said the assignment of subdivision A Farm 1924 at the consideration of K110,000,000 area 2.222.6540 hectares was registered the assignor being Feluna Hatembo (administratrix of the Estate of Samson Hatembo) and the assignee being Hakainde Sammy Hichilema, but the search did not reveal any evidence of requisite authority of the court to sell the property.
The FDD leader who referred to other related cases before the Livingstone High Court and Kalomo Subordinate Court explained that she conducted a search at Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) which revealed that Hichilema is a shareholder and has interest in African life Financial Services Zambia limited, Sanlam Life Insurance Zambia limited, Menel Management Services limited, Tiyende Consortium limited incorporated and Benefits Consultancy services limited.
Nawakwi said on March 25, 1997 Lima Bank limited was placed under liquidation and Messers Edgar Hamuwele and Christopher Mulenga both of Grant Thornton were appointed as joint liquidators and she produce evidence at trial relating to the operation of Lima Bank limited (in liquidation) account no.00302400006373 maintained at Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO).
She stated that Hichilema may not have acted as a receiver, manager or liquidator of Lima Bank but Grant Thornton was actively involved in the liquidation process and disposal of assets of the said Bank.
“As a citizen of Zambia the defendant possess the sufficiency of interest and legitimate concern relating to the plaintiff’s non disclosure of interest. The plaintiff did not disclose at the material time, has not disclosed and continues to resist disclosure,” Nawakwi claimed. “It is trite law that the claim for purpoted liquidated special damages ina tortious liability suit is inadequate and is legally incompetent.”
Nawakwi further submitted that the endorsement of the particulars of claim for libel on the writ of summons and statement of claim are incompetent.
” Save as is admitted herein before the defendant denies each and every allegation contained in the statement of claim as if the same was particularly set out and traversed seriatim,” said Nawakwi.