Professor Moyo sues Sunday Mail for $4m
by: UK Bureau
HIGHER education minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has demanded $4m in damages from two weekend titles published by the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) which is majority-owned by the government.
In papers before the Harare High Court, minister Moyo cites the Zimpapers group, Sunday Mail editor Mabasa Sasa, his investigations reporter Brian Chitemba and Sunday News editor Limukani Ncube.
The minister’s lawyers said a story published in the Mail headlined ‘Prof in vehicles scandal’ – a version of which was also run in the Bulawayo-based Sunday News – was “scandalous and defamatory in the extreme”.
The report claimed that Prof Moyo was under investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for fraud involving two off-road vehicles worth about $140,000.
Moyo was said to have taken the vehicles “unprocedurally for personal use” from the information minister which he previously headed and that “since 2014 no one knows what has happened to the vehicles”.
Said the Zanu PF politburo member’s lawyers: “The claims … made by the (two newspapers) are false, malicious, scandalous, wrongful and defamatory of (Prof Moyo) in the extreme and were intended … and understood by readers to mean that (the minister) is a thief who stole two vehicles.
“In addition to the plain and defamatory … contents the allegations carry with them the secondary meaning and sting that the (minister) is not a law-abiding citizen and therefore unfit to hold public office.
“The (minister’s) reputation and standing being a current and serving Minister of Government has been significantly lowered in the eyes of the public.”
The allegations against Prof Moyo were dismissed as inaccurate by information ministry permanent secretary George Charamba who said the concerned vehicles were returned “punctually” and remained on ministry’s asset register.
“When the President re-deployed Minister Moyo, he punctually surrendered (the vehicle) he was using to the ministry. He would have never taken it because it is a ministry asset on the register,” Charamba was reported as saying.
Moyo’s lawyers said due to the “defamatory articles” their client “who is a Cabinet Minister and a revered academic has been damaged in his reputation and suffered damages in the amount of $4m.”