UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has submitted to the Lusaka High Court that the statement of claim in which he is seeking damages for libel against FDD president Edith Nawakwi is not deficient in any way.
Hichilema has argued that Nawakwi is not entitled to further and better particulars which she requested for, as his statement of claim sets out with sufficient particularity, the cause of action and the allegations of fact upon which it is founded.
This is a matter in which Hichilema has sued Nawakwi over claims that he sold to himself a house which belonged to Lima Bank in Kabulonga during the privatization process.
Hichilema is seeking aggravated and exemplary damages and an order directing Nawakwi to retract the defamatory words.
He also wants an order of injunction to restrain Nawakwi, her agents, servants and whomsoever from further defaming him or publishing similar defamatory words of him.
Hichilema is further claiming reimbursement of the sums expended by him in mitigating the effect of Nawakwi’s conduct towards him and arising from the publication of the defamatory words.
But Nawakwi had argued that Hichilema’s statement of claim against her lacked sufficient particulars to enable her to settle a meaningful defence.
According to an affidavit in support of summons for an order for further and better particulars, Nawakwi through her lawyer, Chifumu Banda, stated that a perusal of Hichilema’s statement of claim reveals that the same lacks sufficient particulars to enable her to settle meaningful defence.
“I have read a letter of demand from the plaintiff’s (Hichilema) advocates and I have had opportunity to peruse the writ of summons and statement of claim issued hereto. The perusal of the statement of claim reveals that the same lacks sufficient particulars to enable the defendant to settle meaningful defence,” read the affidavit.
“I have authored a letter to the plaintiff’s advocates requesting for further and better particulars.”
But in an affidavit in opposition to summons for further and better particulars, sworn by one of his lawyers Mulambo Haimbe, Hichilema argued that the statement of claim was not deficient in any way.
Haimbe stated that the court would note that the letter of demand was concise and segmented under clear headings which detail each of the distinct heads of claim made by Hichilema.
He stated that contrary to Nawakwi’s claims, the statement of claim in the matter before court sets out with sufficient particularity, the cause of action herein and the allegations of fact upon which it is founded.
“Further that the statement of claim is thus not deficient in any way. That to this end, the defendant (Nawakwi) is not entitled to the further and better particulars requested for,” Haimbe stated.
He added that he accordingly responded to Nawakwi’s request for further and better particulars vide his letter of response to her advocates dated September 24, 2020.
Hichilema had stated in his statement of claim that on August 27, 2020, during the course of a programme on Hot FM, dubbed “the Hot Seat” hosted by Zachariah Chavula and on Kwithu FM, Nawakwi caused to be published defamatory words against him in relation to his acquisition of the property known as 14/3/A/F488a Serval Road, Kabulonga in Lusaka.
“Particulars of the defamatory words: ‘if he has been lucky not to have been booked by the Anti-Corruption Commission, he should just keep quiet because he should just say he is lucky. As a former Minister of Agriculture, you ask him for my role, we wanted to restructure Lima Bank and we gave Grant Thornton the opportunity to advise government on receivership. They went ahead and did a liquidation for Lima Bank. Now I just want Hakainde to answer one question, is he able to produce the bid and price which gave him the house in Serval Road where he has been residing until he moved to Muka Muya in Lusaka east?’…,” read the claim.
“…’This is a Lima Bank House under our current laws and even previous laws, that is theft and that is corruption. You are not a public officer just because you are in government. He was advisor to government. So to the extent that Grant Thornton was a receiver for Lima Bank and Hakainde alienated a house to himself, that is theft, he is lucky if he has not gone to Katombora. He is lucky if the law has not visited him’.”
Hichilema stated that the defamatory words by Nawakwi in their natural and ordinary meaning were meant to be understood that he was a thief, a corrupt person, a person of questionable character and that he was guilty of numerous offences relating to the dissolution of Lima Bank and the sale of its assets when in fact not.
He added that the defamatory words were false and published maliciously as he (Hichilema) had never acted as receiver, manager or liquidator of Lima Bank contrary to what Nawakwi alleged.
Hichilema further stated that Subdivision 14/3/A/F488a, Serval Road, Kabulonga, Lusaka never belonged to Lima Bank prior to him acquiring it as alleged by Nawakwi.
“Contrary to the innuendo created by the defendant when she uttered the defamatory words, the plaintiff acquired the subject house in an arm’s length transaction two years prior to the commencement of the process of winding up of Lima Bank,” he stated.
Hichilema lamented that his reputation had been lowered in the estimation of the right thinking members of the global community given his international repute as an astute businessman, a leader of the largest political party in Zambia and as aspiring candidate of the presidency.
“As a consequence of the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff has incurred costs and expenses in an effort to mitigate the effects thereof to his reputation and business interests in the approximate total sum of US$3,000,000. Despite the plaintiff demanding formally that the defendant retracts the said words and renders an unreserved apology to the plaintiff, the defendant has failed, neglected and refused to do so,” he stated.