BULAWAYO prominent lawyer and a senior partner at Cheda and Partners, Sindiso Shepherd Mazibisa, has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the Chronicle, accusing the publication of writing falsehoods, saying he allegedly defrauded a South Africa-based investor of $350 000 in a mining deal.
Chronicle published a front page story on Mazibisa’s alleged fraud of South Africa-based businessman Titusa Ncube and subsequently wrote three follow-up stories on steps which were taken to remedy the situation of the alleged fraud by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ).
Mazibisa said as a result of the falsehoods published by the newspaper, his reputation had been injured and the law firm Cheda and Partners was placed under curatorship
Chronicle editor Mduduzi Mathuthu is being sued in his personal capacity as the first defendant while reporter, Thandeka Moyo, Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd t/a The Chronicle and Choppies Downtown, have been cited as the second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
Mazibisa demanded Choppies pay $100 for nominal defamation damages for distributing one of the alleged defamatory articles, which Mazibisa claims he bought from the shop on February 5.
In his declaration, Mazibisa said the articles were false, malicious and were calculated to defame him in his character, dignity and integrity because:
“While plaintiff (Mazibisa) concluded an agreement over a gold mine with Titus Ncube, the terms of the agreement were clear and straightforward on what happens, where and when, and evidently the first (Mathuthu) and second (Moyo) defendants have ignored that,” he declared.
“There is no basis in fact for the defendants’ malicious publication to the effect that plaintiff ‘swindled or defrauded Titus Ncube of $350 000’.
“There is no sum of $350 000 the plaintiff or his law firm, Cheda and Partners ever received as alleged by the first, second and third defendants.
“The publications of the stories are a result of first defendant (Mathuthu’s) infantile, immature, irresponsible journalism and misguided encouragement for Thandeka Moyo to write falsehoods.”
He said a reader of the running agreement would see or know that the alleged fraud was a creation of Chronicle.
Mazibisa said there was a plot to fight his illustrious legal career and public standing through the publications.
He argued the articles were calculated maliciously portraying him as a dishonest man and lawyer.
The lawsuit takes a personal tone, with Mazibisa describing Mathuthu as a “half-drunk, amateur, inexperienced and immature editor who has failed to get facts correct and neglected to do so, reduced the Chronicle to a rubbish newspaper through his gutter journalism”.