Mpombo loses defamation case to James Banda

Mpombo loses defamation case to James Banda

The Lusaka High Court has dismissed an application by former Defence minister George Mpombo to stay a judgement in default in which he was ordered to pay former republican president Rupiah Banda’s son James.
High court deputy registrar Mwaka Phiri on July 5 dismissed an application by Mpombo who also served as Kafulafuta Member of Parliament in the previous government.
This was in a matter where James had sued Mpombo for defamation following articles in the media in which he claimed that James and his father tried to procure arms worth US$100 million from South Africa using corrupt means.
In her ruling Phiri said she was convinced that Mpombo had no arguable defence.
She said that Order 18 Rule 8 of the Supreme Court clearly illustrates what a defendant in a defamation case must specifically plead and the defence available that must be specifically pleaded with which include justification, privilege and fair comment.
She said the Order also stated that the defendant must not merely traverse the words” falsely and maliciously” in the statement of claim.
James’s lawyer, Lubinda Linyama from Eric Silwamba and Company argued that the defendant did not specify his pleadings in his defence and that in an action for defamation of character, fair comment, justification and privilege should have been pleaded.
The High Court had earlier entered default judgment against Mpombo. In the claims filed in the Lusaka High Court, James said Mpombo’s allegations had injured his credibility and reputation when he was neither a civil servant nor a politician but just the President’s son.
James said apart from the various articles in the media, Mr Mpombo went on Muvi TV where he maliciously issued false, disparaging, and defamatory statements attacking his reputation and businesses.
On April 19, last year, Mpombo again falsely and maliciously repeated the same words in the Post, claiming that had the arms deal gone through, James would have received 10 per cent of the total transaction value as a kickback.

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