Finance Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane is demands K50 million and unqualified apology from Lumezi Independent Member of Parliament Munir Zulu over his alleged defamatory statement accusing Dr Musokotwane of having received a bribe of USD250, 0000 from the contractors awarded the contract on the Lusaka – Ndola Road.
Dr Musokotwane is also demanding the immediate retraction of the defamatory statement in its entirety within 24 hours.
This is according to a demand letter by the Minister’s Lawyers, Keith Mweemba and Company, dated 24th March 2023 and received by Mr. Zulu’s Lawyers, Messer’s Makebi Zulu & Co, on Wednesday, 29th March 2023.
“We refer to the above captioned matter and advise that we have been consulted and retained by Honorable Dr. Situmebeko Musokotwane (our client). Our client instructs that we write you in relation to the false, malicious and libelous statement which you made at a media briefing held by concerning our client on or about 21st March, 2023 whereat you uttered and caused to be published false and malicious allegations against our client in the following words, thus:
“Right now we have received information, solid information, that the current Minister of Finance Honourable Musokotwane, together with the current Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Honourable Milupi have been appearing at the Anti-Corruption Commission secretly. Initially, when the call outs were sent to the two senior cabinet ministers, they avoided going to ACC so that they could be questioned,” reads the letter in part.
The letter further reads, “And our associates are telling us that they are being investigated for having received USD250, 000 each from a named firm. That money went through a bank transfer and we know that State House is aware of this investigation, but we do not know why ACC is not updating the nation on where they are with the investigation. Fellow citizens and colleagues we have also received very disturbing news that Engineer Kutawala is involved in having transferred some amounts of money two days before his appointment as Board Chair through a bank transfer again to Honorable Milupi and the ACC are following up the matter.”
According the Minister’s Lawyers the statement or words were understood to mean that the Minister is a corrupt man who abuses his office, “a man without integrity and a criminal who is unfit to hold the position of Minister of Finance.”
“Your uncouth and defamatory words were published to a wide audience on Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms and have caused our client great prejudice, distress, reputational damage and injury,” reads the letter in part.
Dr Musokotwane is therefore, according to the letter demanding that the Lumezi MP issues a clear and unqualified public apology to him in a similar fashion to retract the defamatory statement.
The Lawyers have demanded that the Lumezi MP further stops issuing any further statements against the Minister.
“Furthermore having regard to our Client’s position as Minister of Finance, the gravity of the allegations and published to the wide social media audience and considering also that your malicious statements were made at a time when our client was meeting with officials from the International Monetary Fund and other development partners seeking a resolution to Zambia’s external debt, we demand the payment of Zambian Kwacha Fifty Million (K50, 000, 000) sum as compensation for reputational damage and distress