Home » Governance » Ex-DPM Mutambara Sues Tn Harlequin

Former Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara has filed a US$1 million defamation lawsuit against TN Harlequin Luxaire Limited, who last week issued summons against him over a furniture debt of US$87 556. TN Harlequin last week filed summons at the High Court claiming US$87 556 for furniture delivered to Prof Mutambara’s Borrowdale home in 2012.

Prof Mutambara, through his lawyer Mr Caleb Mucheche, argued that the fact that TN Harlequin sued him and that the story was published in the media was defamatory considering that the property was officially bought for him by Government at the time he was in office.

“For his services as a Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Zimbabwe, the latter officially bought for him furniture from the defendant as part of his conditions of service,” read the summons.

“This arrangement was done for all the then three occupants of the Government of Zimbabwe premiership, the Prime Minister and the two Deputy Prime Ministers.

“Due to limited Government resources, the furniture of the other two was fully paid for, while partial payment was made for the furniture used by the plaintiff. Consequently, this furniture was not paid in full during the tenure of the inclusive Government, resulting in the plaintiff leaving Government before the defendant’s furniture debt was fully amortised by the benefactor, the Government of Zimbabwe.”

Prof Mutambara argued that despite being fully aware that the furniture debt was incurred by the Government of Zimbabwe, TN Harlequin “maliciously” and spitefully issued summons claiming US$87 556 from him.

“In issuing summons against the plaintiff with a malicious intention andor improper motives, the defendant abused the process of this honourable court, thereby losing any protection ordinarily accorded to statements contained in court documents,” read the summons.

“Accordingly, the very act of issuing summons was the publication of defamatory falsehoods about the plaintiff. In the first place, there was never a loan agreement or purchase arrangement between the defendant and the plaintiff.

“In spite of this, the defendant takes the debt incurred by the Government of about forty-three thousand United States dollars (US$43 000) puts an interest rate of 40 percent per annum and then claims it from the plaintiff.”

Prof Mutambara further argued that TN Harlequin, since the publication of the story, had been meeting Government officials to secure payment, while using the supposed lawsuit as leverage.

He argued that prior to the institution of the court proceedings, TN Harlequin never wrote any letters of demand.

The publication of the story, argued Prof Mutambara, had the effect of portraying him as an irresponsible person who did not honour contractual obligations.

Source : The Herald