Former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda is going to proceed with defamation case against media giant Times Group and some of its editorial staff in connection to stories and comments regarding the 2017 maize procurement deal from Zambia after the Zomba Magistrate Court found he had no case to answer in corruption-related charges.
Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda adjournedthe matter until the Zomba criminal case for Chaponda was disposed off.
Chief resident magistrate (CRM) Paul Chiotcha also acquitted Chaponda on all three charges which included giving false information to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency.
Chaponda, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president for the South, now wants to proceed with the defamation case.
The DPP guru said the maize procurement was “greatly politicized and the facts were twisted as part of a systematic and vicious smear campaign against me. Notwithstanding the attempts to tarnish my name, I am grateful that the truth has come out. The court has shown without a shadow of doubt that there was no legitimate case against me.”
Chaponda is also seeking damages from Times reporter Alick Ponje and Daily Times assistant editor Madalitso Mussa.
He claims that the scribes “falsely and maliciously” published defamatory words of the minister and that the Sunday Times positioned Chaponda’s picture against a headline of ‘Epitome of Decadence’ an opinion piece, claiming it was calculated to portray the minister as a morally rotten person.
Chaponda is claiming damages for libel, exemplary and aggravated damages for libel and legal costs