Former presidential aide Allan Ntata has filed at the High Court in Blantyre counter-claims against President Peter Mutharika defamation lawsuit as he is ,also demanding damages for defamation, arguing that it was, in fact, the President who defamed him through a statement his press secretary Gerald Viola released on July 27 2015.
President Mutharika took Ntata, former legal adviser to his brother, the late Bingu, and online publication Nyasa Times, following published reports that linked the President to the plunder of K92 billion in public funds.
Ntata, in his defence dated October 5 2015 filed by his lawyer Mr Gustav Kaliwo, said he was not responsible for the publication of the alleged articles.
The President’s critic claims that in a democracy, he was under moral and social duty to comment on matters of public interest that were circulating in the social media.
Ntata then reminded Mutharika about the public scrutiny that goes with his office.
Now the former presidential aide has filed a counter-claim for defamation against the statement Presidential press secretary issued.
The press release, as filed in the High Court, reads in part: “For reasons best known to themselves, the individuals don’t seem satisfied with their current occupations but have chosen to make a career out of slander by cooking up stories aimed at tarnishing the President and those they perceive to be stumbling block to their ambitions, to land lucrative government jobs.
“These individuals are led by Mr Z Allan Ntata who had his own expectations when the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) took over power in May 2014. Without scandalising Mr Ntata’s name, he was tried and tested when he once served as legal assistant to the late president Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika and all honest Malawians can attest to his performance then.”
According to Ntata, a trained barrister at law, the statement meant that he was a person of a vindictive, malicious and perverted character who engaged in slanderous activities after failing to secure a job; and that he was an incompetent person in the performance of his job as legal assistant to late Bingu.
He is demanding damages for defamation, exemplary damages as the action was to interfere with freedom of speech, an injunction restraining the President or his servants from publishing such statements and cost of action.