Chiyangwa sues NewsDay for $2,5 million defamation

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Zimbabwe Football Association president and businessman Dr Philip Chiyangwa who on Monday claimed $1 million defamation damages from Alpha Media Holdings’ newspaper The Standard, has picked a legal battle with another publication under the group, NewsDay, where he is claiming a further $2,5 million.

Dr Chiyangwa claims the newspapers wrote two different, wrongful and defamatory stories about him in July this year and last Sunday. On Monday, Dr Chiyangwa wrote a letter to The Standard newspaper and its writer Xolisani Ncube demanding $1 million defamation damages emanating from a story published in the paper’s edition of September 24, 2017 titled “Chiyangwa dirty deals exposed”.

Dr Chiyangwa claims that the story puts him in bad light as it insinuated that he was abusing his leadership position as Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president to sell the soccer body’s property for personal gain. He then filed summons at the High Court claiming $2,5 million for defamation damages for another story published in the NewsDay’s edition of July 13 this year titled “Chiyangwa sold land he didn’t own”.

He is suing NewsDay’s writer Paidamoyo Muzulu, Alpha Media Holdings as well as Munn Marketing (1992) Pvt Ltd that distributes the newspaper copies. Chegutu town clerk Mr Alexio Mandigo was quoted in the story stating that the land Dr Chiyangwa sold to National Social Security Authority (NSSA) never belonged to the businessman.

He is now suing Muzulu and the paper over the quotation attributed to the council official stating that the land belonged to Chegutu Municipality. In the High Court case, Dr Chiyangwa argued that the story was damaging as it wrongfully portrayed him as a dishonest and unscrupulous businessman.

“The said article and words published by the second defendant were defamatory as they carried the sting that the plaintiff is an unscrupulous and dishonest person whose conduct in the transaction involving the purchase of land by NSSA was out-rightly crooked and criminal. The said article and words were false, malevolent and injurious to plaintiff’s name, reputation and standing in business circles and society at large as they engendered resentment, spite and disdain against the plaintiff,” reads the plaintiff’s declaration.

Dr Chiyangwa’s lawyers argued that his local and foreign business associates and clients had started drifting away from him as a result of the publication of the story.

“As a consequence of the said incendiary defamatory publication, plaintiff’s name, reputation and personality suffered resentment, spite and immeasurable business and social malefic damage, nationally and internationally as his business associates and clients have made a decision to disengage and dissociate themselves from him. Further, plaintiff’s integrity is now the subject of consideration by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) Ethics Committee which can have adverse consequences over his continuity in football leadership,” he said. – Herald