The attorney General’s Chambers has refused to be drawn into the matter in which Dangote Industries Zambia (DIZ) has sued Labour minister Fackson Shamenda saying they do not represent individuals in government but government as a whole.
Sources at the Attorney general’s chambers said Mr Shamenda’s request to have the AG represent him has been turned down he has since been informed of the decision.
“This man was trying to abuse the attorney general’s chambers after making incessant libelous statements against Dangote Industries and now he is dead scared. Our bosses here saw through his schemes and they had a meeting at which it was agreed that these chambers should not be abused by an individual regardless of their position in the government,” the source said.
Mr Shamenda was recently taken to court by DIZ for libelous statements purporting that a junior human resource manager from the company’s headquarters in Abuja attempted to bribe him.
And another source at the ministry of Foreign Affairs has told the Zambian Watchdog that the diplomatic tiff between Zambia and Nigeria has escalated following the Zambian Mission in Nigeria’s refusal to grant Visas to relatives of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Zambia Sifuwu Inu-Umoro Momoh.
The source said Mr Shamenda is believed to have influenced the decision to deny Nigerians Visas in order to pressurize the Nigerian High Commissioner in Zambia to plead with Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian multi millionaire who owns DIZ withdraw the lawsuit against him.
The source said Zambians should not be surprised when the Nigerian High Commission reciprocates the actions and stops giving Zambians Visas to enter Nigeria.
The source said the Nigerian Government has taken great exception to the way Zambia is treating of Nigerian investment in Zambia, particularly Dangote and Access Bank.
He said concerns have been raised about statements uttered by Mr Shamenda which insinuated that Nigerian business such as Dangote have a culture of bribing government official and were corrupt.
The source disclosed that a high level meeting is expected to take place tomorrow Friday at the ministry of foreign Affairs between foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba, his permanent secretary with some directors and the Nigerian High Commissioner to Zambia.
The source says Government hopes to iron-out differences between the two countries ahead of the visit of Nigerian vice president Namadi Sambo who is expected in the country next week to grace celebrations to commemorate Zambia’s golden jubilee.
The source said Mr Kalaba is expected to ask the high Commissioner during the meeting to convince Mr Dangote to withdraw his lawsuit.
DIZ recently took Mr Shamenda to the High Court demanding over K100,000 for aggravated damages for alleged slander and libel after he accused the cement company of trying to bribe him.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court by Dangote Industries, Mr Shamenda is alleged to have caused the publication of a slanderous statement in which he accused one of the company’s employees of trying to bribe him.
Dangote claims that the words used by Mr Shamenda were sensational and that he knew that the allegation of attempted bribery was untrue, adding that the court should infer that Mr Shamenda knew that his words were slanderous and libellous.
The cement company claims that Mr Shamenda alleged that Dangote Industries had apologised for trying to bribe him and that the company’s human resource manager was on the run when in fact not.
“The words in their entirety were based on malicious falsehood and were defamatory, slanderous and libellous of Dangote Industries’ business and professional reputation,” part of the claim reads.
The company also claims that Mr Shamenda made the statement without any official from the company and that the words were in reckless disregard as to whether they were slanderous and that he knew that the prospect of political mileage outweighed the prospect of material loss.
“Dangote Group of Companies is of African and international repute and being a public servant, Mr Shamenda had the knowledge that the said publication was arbitrary and unconstitutional,” part of the claim reads.
The company is demanding damages for slander, libel and special damages amounting to K112,042.84.