THE Lusaka High Court has ordered Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda to pay Dangote Industries Zambia Limited over K112, 000 for slander and libel.
High Court deputy registrar Charles Zulu, who presided over the matter, delivered an interlocutory judgment on Wednesday.
Mr Shamenda did not offer any defence in the matter.
Registrar Zulu awarded Dangote the costs in default of Mr Shamenda’s appearance and defence stating that the money was for special damages to the cement firm.
“It is on this day adjudged that judgment in default of appearance and defence be and is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant for special damages in the sum of K112, 045.84 to be assessed by the deputy registrar,” Mr Zulu said.
He said Mr Shamenda did not appear nor deliver any defence to the writ of summons and statement of claim following the expiration of the conditional memorandum of appearance and failure to amend his application to set aside writ of summons for irregularity.
Judge Zulu adjudged that interlocutory judgment was entered against Mr Shamenda in favour of Dangote Industries for damages.
He said Mr Shamenda should pay general damages for slander published by the minister at a meeting held at Dangote premises and attended by labour commissioner Cecilia Kamanga, Mineworkers Union of Zambia president Nkole Chishimba, MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe, Workers Compensation Fund Control Board public relations manager Maybin Nkholomba and the media on September 13, 2014.
“It is further adjudged that interlocutory judgment be and is hereby entered against the defendant in favour of the plaintiff for damages for libel caused to be published by the defendant in local media on the 15th September 2014 and 1st October 2014 and aggravated damages for slander and libel as pleaded.
“Also exemplary damages for slander and libel as pleaded and interest on the above sums at Central Bank lending rate to be assessed by the deputy registrar,” he said.
Judge Zulu said the costs of and incidental to that court matter would be for the plaintiff to be taxed in default of agreement.
And when the matter came up yesterday, Dangote’s lawyer Theotis Armanda-Mataka applied for adjournment to receive instructions from her clients.
Mrs Armanda-Mataka said Dangote might consider settling the matter outside the court.
“I have application to make. I would like to apply for an adjournment…I have received instructions from my clients (Dangote), they may want to resolve this matter amicably and out of court.
“I want to be given instructions on this issue so that if that is the way the parties are going, they can take and appropriate order,” he said.
Mr Shamenda’s counsel a Mr G. Mulongo did not object to the application for adjournment. The matter has been adjourned to June 12, 2015.