The Lusaka High Court has thrown out a defamation lawsuit filed by Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga against three football administrators.
Kamanga took legal action against Kelvin Chipili, Damingo Mutale and Iven Mulenga arguing that the trio defamed him when they reported him to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for abuse of office.
In his statement of claim, Kamanga claimed that around December 2016 and August 2017, the trio presented to the ACC and the Ndola margistrate court a fabricated complaint that he abused office by directing FAZ to settle a bill of K24, 352 at Savoy Hotel for members of his campaign team.
He calimed special damages of K122, 509.00 paid in legal fees to his lawyer, an order that the trio award him general and exemplary damages and compensation for the articles published in the media.
But in her verdict, high court Judge Kaunda Newa ruled that Kamanga failed to prove that the 1st and 2nd defendant issued a joint statement even though the statement was defamatory.
On the K122, 509.00 claim, the Judge ruled that Kamanga did not present receipts to the court to substantiate his claim.
“In this case the evidence shows that Maximillian Chanda on 26th October 2016 wrote a complaint letter to the ACC against the plaintiff, alleging among other things, that he had abused his authority of office by directing PW3 to pay the hotel bill at Savoy Hotel for (4) people who were not entitled to be paid for by FAZ. The evidence shows that the ACC delayed in responding, prompting the 1st and 2nd defendants to engage the 3rds defendants law firm to follow up the complaint with the ACC, in order to put pressure on the ACC. The 3rd defendant’s law firm wrote the letter on 1st August 2017, giving the ACC an ultimatum of seven (7) days within which to respond, otherwise they would proceed to explore other legal avenues…,” read the verdict in part.
“The document on pages 2 and 3 of the plaintiff bundle of documents are not dated, so it is not known whether the statements were allegedly made…The defence by the 1st and 2nd defendant is that they did not issue a joint statement to that effect. No evidence was led to rebut the 1st and 2nd defendants defence by the plaintiff. Therefore, while the statement at page 2 of the plaintiff’s bundle of document was defamatory, as no defence to the words stated was given, it has not been approved in a balance of probabilities that it is attributed to the 1st and 2nd defendants… Turning to the claim of payment of K122, 509.00 as legal fees, no receipt was presented to the court.”