DANGOTE Industries Zambia (DIZ) Limited has given Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda a 24-hour ultimatum to withdraw all his defamatory and slanderous statements against the Nigerian cement company or face legal action.
The firm has given Mr Shamenda a one-day ultimatum to withdraw his statement that the Nigerian cement company has rendered an apology to him (Shamenda) over his bribery allegations.
Dangote said it was not true that the cement company had attempted to offer a bride to Mr Shamenda and that in fact it was the company that advised the minister to report such an allegation to the relevant bodies for investigations.
According to a letter dated 1st October 2014 addressed to Mr Shamenda and captioned ‘Re: retraction of defamatory statement’, Dangote lawyers Theotis Mataka and Sampa said it was not true that their client had offered an apology to the Labour minister regretting their alleged action of attempted bribery.
The letter said the alleged words of apology to Mr Shamenda were particularly damaging to Dangote’s reputation as an investor not only in Zambia but in Africa as a whole as well as internationally as the said statement was completely untrue.
The letter said the false statement that Dangote had offered an apology to Mr Shamenda over his alleged bribe claim constituted grave slander upon the Nigerian cement company which was of international repute.
The letter said as a matter of fact, it was Dangote that advised Mr Shamenda to follow the correct procedure and report his alleged bribe claims to relevant authorities which the minister did.
Mr Shamenda reported the alleged bribe claim to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) outside the prescribed time and the commission has since declined to commence investigations against Dangote because they believe the Labour minister could have committed a jailable offence of up to two years imprisonment.
Dangote lawyers in the letter have also stated that it was not true that Zango Bala, the man Mr Shamenda alleges attempted to bribe him had fled the country after allegedly committing the crime, stating that he (Bala) was in Zambia for four months which had elapsed at the time he was leaving.
“Our client’s attention has been drawn to statements you continue to make about it having offered you a bribe and being corrupt, the latest having appeared in the Post Newspaper dated 1st October 2014. In the said paper, you have been reported to have stated that Dangote has since offered you an apology and wished that your action would serve as a lesson to the corporate world that this is bad practice. These words are particularly damaging to Dangote’s reputation as an investor not only in Zambia but Africa as a whole as well as internationally as the said statements are completely untrue and constitute a grave slander upon our client who is of international repute,” reads the letter in part.
The letter states that Dangote was demanding that Mr Shamenda must within 24 hours write a letter containing a suitable withdrawal and apology in terms approved by the cement company’s lawyers and that the same should appear in the aforementioned national newspapers.Dangote has also demanded that Mr Shamenda should give his assurance and undertaking in writing that he would not repeat the utterances or publication of similar allegations.
“We trust that you will treat this matter with the urgency it deserves and await your prompt response hereto. In the meantime, it must be clearly understood that our client reserves all their rights in this matter,” reads the letter.