FORMER Lusaka City Market manager Mwenya Matafwali has claimed that Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has on several occasions asked him to give him ‘offerings’ for personal use.
This is a matter in which Matafwali has sued Sampa and the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper in the Lusaka High Court for defamation of character for alleging that he had stolen K12 million, which was meant to be deposited in the Lusaka City Council (LCC) account.
However, Sampa has also countersued Matafwali for defamation of character, alleging that Matafwali defamed him when he accused him of asking for K20,000 from the City Market funds for his personal use.
But Matafwali in his defence to Sampa’s counter-claim has denied each and every allegation contained in Sampa’s counterclaim.
“The plaintiff (Matafwali) will aver that the first defendant (Sampa) has on several occasions asked the plaintiff to give him ‘offerings’ for personal use and the plaintiff has told him to request for those ‘offerings’ officially, which he has never done to-date,” he stated.
And in his reply and defence, Matafwali denied that the money had been mismanaged as claimed by Sampa.
“The plaintiff will aver at trial that he has not failed to account for the monies collected at the Lusaka City Market for the financial year December 31, 2019. The plaintiff will aver that he has not put the name of the Mayor of Lusaka into disrepute or public scandal, but that Sampa is the one, who put the name of the plaintiff into disrepute,” he stated.
Matafwali had stated in his statement of claim that by letter dated April 2, 2020, Sampa wrote to the Lusaka City Council Town Clerk and stated in part that City Market generated a total revenue of K13,626,242.12, but only a total of K60,000.00 was remitted to the Lusaka City Council Main accounts at Civic Centre.
He added that the Daily Mail published on its page of April 4, this year, a story under the heading “K12 million vanishes from the Lusaka City Market account.”
Matafwali submitted that the actual words stated that, “K12,000,000.00 was not deposited into the Lusaka City Council account and that Sampa learnt of this disappointment.”
He lamented that the said words uttered by Sampa and the Zambia Daily Mail meant and were understood to mean by an ordinary member of society that he stole K12 million.
But in its defence, the Zambia Daily Mail denied Matafwali’s claim, stating that the newspaper publication was based on information which was obtained from Sampa’s office.
It added that the words complained of were fair comment and published under duty.
Zambia Daily Mail further submitted that as a public institution, it had a duty to inform the public on matters of public interest, including Matafwali’s case.
Sampa on the other hand, stated in his defence and counterclaim, that he would show at trial that Matafwali also defamed him when he maliciously caused to be published in the media that he had demanded payment of K20,000 for personal use from the City Market funds.
He stated that by reason of the said statement by Matafwali, he had suffered loss, damages and exemplary damages.
Sampa stated that he would aver at trial that Matafwali had, indeed, failed to account for the funds collected from the market.