The South African Times newspaper which published an article about Malawi’s former president, Joyce Banda facing arrest in connection to Cashgate scandal has published an apology, a full retraction, and an acknowledgement that the story was baseless.
Banda had demanded an apology and retraction from the newspaper for publishing a story on December 9, 2014 that there was a warrant of arrest over her head due to her connection to ‘cashgate’.
The newspaper article which was authored by a Malawian freelancer Ulemu Teputepu titled, “Joyce Banda Fingered in ‘Cashgate’ scandal”, reported that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Banda and that the Malawi government had released closed-circuit television footage of private meetings between Banda and cashgate suspect Oswald Lutepo to the police and Anti- Corruption Bureau.
The story had come after Malawi24 speculated which the newspaper acknowledges the report was insupportable and improper.
The South African newspaper, a reputable publication, has said it “acknowledges that the article, which did not reflect Banda’s point of view, was incorrect, and apologises unconditionally.”
Reads the apology published in the newspaper of Wednesday January 7, 2015: “At the time of going to print yesterday, no warrant for the arrest of Banda had been affected, and the Anti corruption Bureau refused to say whether one existed.”
It also stated that Banda has dismissed the allegations out of hand, saying that, when she was President, no CCTV cameras had been installed at Malawi’s State House.
The paper said the unverified story should never have been published.
Banda’s lawyer Caroline Phatswane wrote the newspaper to alert it of the ‘false and irresponsible’ reporting.