Former Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor and opposition DPP presidential hopeful, Dr Dalitso Kabambe is threatening to sue the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) for defamation.
His lawyers have asked the Board to issue an apology and pay damages to Dr Kabambe for defamation and character assassination following a press statement, which appeared in The Nation tabloid of May 20, 2021 dubbed ‘Naming and Shaming’ in which the Board alleged that Dr Kabambe had illegally connected water at his Area 6 residence in Lilongwe, which was rented out to someone.
In a letter dated 2 June, 2021 and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Lilongwe Water Board, lawyers T. F. & Partners have demanded that the Board responds to their claim within 10 days failing which they would commence legal proceedings against LWB.
The letter, which Nyasa Times has seen, reads in part: “It is our client’s case that on Thursday, 20 May, you published a story in the Nation Newspaper where you stated that our client is a culprit who was apprehended for stealing water through illegal connections between January and April 2021. The natural and ordinary meaning of the words is that our client is a criminal who has been found guilty in a court of law and was arrested or imprisoned for an offence of water theft”.
The lawyers claim that the statement is “clearly false as our client has not been prosecuted before the court of law neither has he been arrested on the same”.
“Based on the foregoing, our client demands an apology to be published in the same newspaper in which the defamatory statement was published. Our client also demands the sum of K75 million as damages for the same,” the former Governor’s lawyers say.
“Unless we receive an apology and the sum of K75,000,000.00 inclusive of legal costs within the next ten (10) days from the date hereof, we shall commence legal proceedings against you on libel and we shall seek aggravated damages for the same,” concludes the letter.
The Board has received many law suits since the day they published the statement. Some commentators have advised the water utility parastatal to always follow KYC (Know Your Customer) rules if they want to target correct names of illegal water connection culprits because many customers may have either left, rented out or sold the concerned premises implicated in the statement.
LWB Public Relations Officer Maurice Nkawihe could not respond to calls from Nyasa Times after several attempts.