FDD leader Edith Nawakwi has argued that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema will not be prejudiced by rendering a holistic account on the acquisition of his wealth.
Nawakwi has submitted that the case in which Hichilema has sued her for libel is a fit and proper case to be determined by the Lusaka High Court.
In this matter, Hichilema sued Nawakwi in the Lusaka High Court over claims that he sold to himself a house which belonged to Lima Bank in Kabulonga during the privatisation process.
Hichilema is seeking damages for libel, aggravated and exemplary damages and an order directing Nawakwi to retract the defamatory words which she caused to be broadcast and published in the course of a program entitled ‘the Hot Seat’ on August 27, 2020, in relation to his acquisition of the property known as 14/3/A/F488a, Serval Road, Kabulonga.
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 had asked the court to enter judgement on admission against Nawakwi for admitting that she uttered the words complained of in relation to his acquisition of a house on Serval Road, in Kabulonga.
The UPND leader also submitted that Nawakwi had introduced irrelevant matters in her defence which had nothing to do with the claims that he has brought before court.
He added that the said extraneous matters will merely delay, embarrass or prejudice the prosecution of his case.
But Nawakwi has argued that she is desirous of demonstrating at trial that her statements were true and fair comment and she denied that she had made any admission of any allegations of defamation against Hichilema.
This is according to an affidavit in opposition to composite summons to set aside defence or in the alternative to strike out her defence or part thereof and enter judgment on admission, filed recently.
Nawakwi submitted that the interlocutory judgment was filed prematurely as Hichilema had erroneously reckoned the 14 day period within which to file her defence from the date the court dismissed her application for further and better particulars.
She stated that there would be no prejudice occasioned to Hichilema for him to demonstrate that he was an astute businessman as he alleges and that he has a reputation worth defending.
Nawakwi stated that she believed that the real issue in controversy was Hichilema’s demonstration of his acquisition of wealth prior to the privatisation process, including the property known as No.14/3/A/F488a, Serval Road in Kabulonga, Lusaka as an astute businessman as he alleges.
She added that Hichilema had always maintained that he was never at any material time purchased properties associated with Lima Bank.
“In discharging my defence of “truth” or legitimate criticism” or “fair comment” it is imperative to demonstrate that the properties transactions association with the plaintiff (Hichilema) and Lima Bank were less than transparent. I’m advised by my advocate that the purported properties transactions associated with the plaintiff and Lima Bank were not compliant with the law,” Nawakwi stated.
“The plaintiff and his supporters or sympathizers are on record publicly flaunting his wealth and accusing the plaintiff’s political opponents of being corrupt and challenging them to subject
themselves to a “Lifestyle Audit”. The plaintiff will not be prejudiced by rendering an holistic account of the acquisition of his wealth which I verily believe is his desire and pursuit for vindication in these proceedings.”
Earlier in her defence, Nawakwi argued that she was not the first person to raise the issue of Hichilema’s acquisition of property No. Subdivision 14/3/A/F488a Serval Road in Kabulonga, saying on May 18, 2007 The Post Newspaper (in liquidation) wrote about the same in its editorial, as well as, the Times of Zambia on January 14, 2012.
She further said Hichilema may not have acted as receiver, manager or liquidator of Lima Bank Limited but Grant Thornton was actively involved in the liquidation process and disposal of assets of the said bank.
And Nawakwi stated that she conducted a search at PACRA which revealed that Hichilema was a shareholder and had interest in; African life Financial Services Zambia Limited, Sanlam Life Insurance Zambia Limited, Menel Management Services Limited, among others.