BULAWAYO socialite and legal practitioner Mlweliwenkululeko Ncube has launched a $6 million lawsuit against the Chronicle newspaper over a story claiming that he was deregistered and a fraudster.
In summons filed at the Bulawayo High Court under case number HC201/14, Ncube cited the Chronicle editor Mduduzi Mathuthu, reporter Leonard Ncube and the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group Limited as first, second, and third respondents respectively.
According to the summons, Ncube is demanding $1 million being defamation damages arising from the story headlined Lawyer in messy scandal published by the newspaper on January 25.
A further $5 million, the summons state, would be compensation for what Ncube lost as a direct result of the story in question.
He argues clients have lost confidence in him.
The story alleged that Ncube had facilitated a transaction for the sale of a house that belonged to a deceased person.
He was alleged to have put together the deal without demanding any documentation authorising the purported seller of the house to do so.
It was also alleged that Ncube had been deregistered by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) from practicing as a lawyer after he was reportedly found to have misappropriated trust funds.
Ncube felt aggrieved by the allegations which he said were unfounded as the paper had not bothered to check the veracity of its claims.
He said the newspaper’s editors and its reporter were supposed to call the LSZ to check whether or not he was still practicing.
Part of the summons by his lawyers Cheda and Partners read: “The utterances in the said article by the defendants were false, malicious and calculated to defame the plaintiff in his character, dignity, integrity and have ruined his reputation.
“The plaintiff is a duly registered legal practitioner in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe. A single phone call to the LSZ would have clarified this,” he said.
“The defendants’ publication of the article on the January 25 2014 with malice aforethought is false and defamatory about the plaintiff to the effect that the plaintiff is a deregistered legal practitioner and a criminal fraudster.”
Ncube also denied ever drafting the said agreement of sale of the house.
The lawyer said the story had caused damage to his social and professional standing and had also caused anxiety among his family members and friends.