THE matter in which Dangote Industries Zambia Limited has sued Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda for slander and libel demanding aggravated damages amounting to over K110, 000 yesterday failed to take off.
This is because Mr Shamenda, who is represented by Lusaka lawyer Anthony Kasolo, had not yet served Dangote Industries with amended summons to have him expunged from the case because at the time he allegedly uttered the words complained of he was speaking as a Governemet minister.
Dangote Industries has sued Mr Shamenda demanding K112, 042.84 for alleged slander and libel after he accused the cement company of trying to bribe him.
When the matter came up yesterday, lawyers representing Dangote said they had not been served with an order of amended summons adding or substituting the defendant and applied for an adjournment.
Mr Shamenda did not object to the application and the matter has been adjourned to May 14, 2015.
Last year, Mr Shamenda asked the High Court to strike out the lawsuit by Dangote, saying the cement manufacturing firm’s lawsuit was erroneously taken to court.
Mr Shamenda is alleged to have caused the publication of an article which claimed that an employee of Dangote Industries Zambia Limited attempted to bribe him.
“I crave the indulgence of the court for an order setting the writ and statement of claim by the applicant (Dangote) for irregularity,” he said.
Mr Shamenda said the complaint by Dangote was published by newspapers which are not party to the proceedings.
According to a statement of claim, Dangote said that the words used by Mr Shamenda were sensational and that he knew that the allegation of attempted bribery was untrue, adding that the court should infer that Mr Shamenda knew that his words were slanderous and libellous.
The cement company claims that Mr Shamenda alleged that Dangote Industries had apologised for trying to bribe him and that the company’s human resource manager was on the run when in fact not.
“The words in their entirety were based on malicious falsehood and were defamatory, slanderous and libellous of Dangote Industries’ business and professional reputation,” part of the statement reads.
The company also claims that Mr Shamenda made the statement without any official from the company being present and that the words were in reckless disregard as to whether they were slanderous and that he knew that the prospect of political mileage outweighed the prospect of material loss.
“Dangote Group of Companies is of African and international repute and being a public servant, Mr Shamenda had the knowledge that the said publication was arbitrary and unconstitutional,” part of the statement reads.