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ZBC faces million-dollar lawsuit

by Staff reporter
23 Dec 2019 at 15:49hrs | Views
A GWERU-BASED land developer, Smelly Dube, has demanded that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) retracts a story in which it claimed she had been subpoenaed by the Land Commission and has interests in every province.

She said failure to retract would see the broadcaster face a $1 million lawsuit.

The demand came after ZBC on December 19 claimed that Dube had been a subject of probe by the Lands Commission, whose findings were presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa early this month.

But in her letter of demand to ZBC chief executive officer Wisdom Hombarume, Dube said what was subpoenaed to appear before the commission was River Valley Properties, not herself in her individual capacity.

According to the letter by Mhaka Attorneys, Dube described the ZBC report as malicious and defamatory.

"We are instructed that an interview pertaining to the findings of the Land Commission was conducted at your television station during the 2000hrs news on the 19th of December 2019, were our client's name was expressly mentioned without any meaningful cause or basis, the contents of the interview in relation to our client were reckless, misleading, false, malicious and defamatory," the letter read.

"Firstly, it is of interest to note that it was River Valley Properties precisely which was before the Land Commission and not our client Smelly Dube in her personal capacity," the letter read.

"Therefore, the company that was subpoenaed was River Valley Properties and not our client in her personal capacity. Our client is just a director in that company and there are two other directors of the company. Whatever findings the commission might have reached was against River Valley Properties and not our client in her personal capacity."

According to the letter, the ZBC report wrongfully implied that Dube had appeared in all the provincial findings of the Land Commission, denying that she has presence in all provinces across the country.

"Our client's company, River Valley Properties, is solely based in the Midlands province and it has never conducted any land development in other provinces," the letter read.

"The above-mentioned statements in the context of the interview in its entirety are wrongful and defamatory of our client and they were intended and understood by the viewers of ZBC that our client is involved in underhand dealings and corrupt activities pertaining to sale and development of land in the whole of Zimbabwe."

Added Dube's lawyers: "Kindly note that if our demand is not met within seven days, we will proceed to institute legal proceedings against the ZBC, the reporter and yourself for defamation in the sum of $1 million jointly and severally, including cost of suit on a higher scale together with interest at the prescribed rate from the date of issuance of summons."

During the public hearings by the commission, River Valley Properties failed to testify after the commission demanded that Dube attends.

She refused to attend, arguing that she was not River Valley, questioning why the commission was demanding her presence when other land developing companies were represented by people of their choice.

She accused the commission of having a premeditated agenda in a case that is still before the court.

Source - newsday