Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Businessman Hauls Daily News to Court

Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, represented by its finance manager Zweli Sibanda, editor Stanley Gama and journalist Thomas Fungai Kwaramba, yesterday appeared in court facing charges of defaming businessman Mr Kamal Khalfan. The trio appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Mr Douglas Chikwekwe facing three counts of contravening the Criminal Codification and Reform Act.

The Daily News allegedly published and circulated defamatory statement about Mr Khalfan.

Prosecutor Ms Sharon Mashavira alleges that on January 6 this year Gama, Kwaramba and the ANZ published a story with the intention of harming Mr Khalfan’s reputation.

“Kamal Khalfan boasts about his connections with top Government officials and how he could arrange deals with the Zimbabwe Government. Zimbabwe has lost billions of dollars in sleazy deals especially involving gold and diamonds and some top Government ministers are believed to be behind the illicit activities bleeding the country,” reads part of the alleged defamatory story written by Kwaramba.

It is alleged that the Daily News published a false statement about Mr Khalfan again on January 7.

It read: “This comes in the wake of the Daily News story exposing claims by Omani businessman Kamal Khalfan that he is politically connected and could assist in clinching multimillion-dollar deals with Harare established through his political connections. Khalfan’s e-mail exchange with a German businessman brings to force the widely held belief that ministers and other top Government officials are being used to siphon billions of dollars worth of resources from Zimbabwe.”

The Daily News is accused of publishing another defamatory statement about Mr Khalfan on January 29.

Gama, Kwaramba and Sibanda, through their lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, gave notice to the court that they want the case referred to the Constitutional Court on the next remand date.

“The section that the accused are being charged with is ultra vires to Section 69 (1) (2) of the Constitution which provides for freedom of expression.

“The charges of defamation are archaic criminal provisions which are no longer expressed in a democratic society. The accused reserve their right to challenge the placement on remand,” Mr Muchadehama said.

Trial has been set for May 15.

The trio was remanded out of custody on free bail.

Source : The Herald