LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow) — Malawi President Prof Peter Mutharika has sued his fierce critic Mr. Allan Ntata and the online publication Nyasa Times for defamation and wants to be paid damages from each of them in millions.
The President said Ntata wrote on his Facebook page that a Mrs Sadiq of HTD allegedly defrauded government close to K20 billion on bogus purchases of motor vehicles and that President Mutharika is closely linked to and associated with HTD and the bogus payments could be linked to him.
And Nyasa Times reported Ntata’s claims which the President through the lawsuit filed by Tembenu, Masumbu & Company, said in their natural and ordinary meaning of the published words, they meant he [the President] is engaged in fraud and corruption.
The President claimed: “[The words also mean I am] engaged in dubious transactions with HTD…involved in the looting of public purse from Capital Hill known as Cashgate. In consequence, [my reputation] has been seriously injured.”
The Malawi President is said to be in pursuant of his case to support the claim for exemplary damages, he would rely on facts that the defendant (Ntata) and the publisher of Nyasa Times based in the United Kingdom, published or caused to be published the said article knowing they were false or reckless, not caring whether they were true or false.
He said they calculated the benefits to them in terms of increased circulation that was going to outweigh any compensation payable to the President.
Mutharika said: “Unless restrained by this Honourable court, the defendants and each of them will further publish or cause to be published the said or similar article defamatory of the plaintiff.”
Mutharika, apart from seeking damages for defamation, is seeking an injunction to stop Ntata and Nyasatimes, their servants or agents, from further publishing or causing to be published the said defamatory article of the plaintiff.
Allan Ntata was legal adviser to the President’s elder brother, Bingu WA Mutharika, who ruled the country from 2004 until his death in April 2012.