Former Peoples Party (PP) second deputy Director of Elections, Benedicto Chambo has dragged to court Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola for defamation and unlawful detention, Nyasa Times has established.
Chambo who dumped PP in earlier this year has filed the lawsuit at Blantyre High Court in relation to his detention by Mangochi police on January 3rd, 2014 after being framed by Matola in a vehicle Customs Duty invasion scam.
Before Chambo’s detention, Matola had impounded his vehicle, Nissan Tida registration CHS 9051 alleging it was stolen and was brought in the country illegally. But police and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officials cleared Chambo of the charge.
Matola, sounding angry, refused to comment on the lawsuit when Nyasa Times contacted him.
Lawyer Mauya Msuku representing Chambo, in a separate interview, disclosed his client’s lawsuit was part of a counter-claim he made on Matola’s earlier claim of damages and defamation.
Matola, in February, through his lawyers filed Chambo with a claim of K10 million for defamation based on an article Nyasa Times published on the dismissed Customs Duty invasion scam.
However, Chambo denied the claim and counter-claimed K15 million from the Minister for wrongful detention and defamation.
“We counter-claimed about four weeks ago, demanding damages for defamation, wrong detention and false imprisonment. Unfortunately they have not responded up to now; and my client instructed me to proceed with the case,” explained Msusku.
Msuku has however refused to disclose how much is Chambo demanding in form of damages from the Minister who is also his rival in the race for Mangochi North Constituency Parliamentary position.
He said: “The earlier figure in our counter-claim was just negotiation term and felled on way side since they have not responded. In the current lawsuit, it is hard to assess how much are the damages as we have to first establish a liability against Matola, and other issues will follow later”.
In January this year Mangochi police PRO Roderick Maida told Nyasa Times there was no case against Chambo after MRA officers dismissed the tax invasion claims, and had verified the vehicle documents to be legit.
Matola was declared PP’s candidate for May 20th Tripartite Elections after the party National Executive officials forced Chambo, just like other aspiring candidates, to forfeit his triumph inorder to save the party’s image.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :