Prominent Lusaka lawyer Vincent Malambo has maintained that President Michael Sata maliciously defamed him when the Head of State told the Lusaka High Court that he (Malambo) was removed from representing the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) for allegedly being incompetent.
The matter is before High Court Judge Florence Lengalenga and ruling comes up today.
Mr Malambo submitted that the story in the Daily Nation for which President Michael Sata has sued Mr Sakala and Dr Beyani were fair comment on matters of public interest which involved his removal from representing DBZ after successfully prosecuting the matter and obtaining judgment in favour of the bank.
Mr Malambo in his written submission as an intended intervenor in the K14 billion DBZ loan which High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna ruled in his favour that Mr Nchito, Mr M’membe and Nchima Nchito obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation argued that if a person was defamed in his profession, the defamation was actionable.
He has said that since President Sata defamed him, he wanted to join in the case so that he could clear his name.
This is in a matter where Mr Malambo is seeking to be joined to a case in which Mr Sata has sued Daily Nation proprietor Richard Sakala and University of Zambia academician Choolwe Beyani for defamation for causing the publication of a story allegedly that he was shielding his friends Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito, his business partner Fred M’membe who is owner of the Post Newspaper and Nchima Nchito from repaying the K14 billion loan.
Mr Malambo also submitted that according to the Halsbury’s Laws of England, not all statements uttered in court enjoyed absolute privilege and that malicious defamation of a person during court proceedings was not protected.
He submitted that the remedy in a situation where a malicious statement was made against an individual in court was for the affected to join the proceedings.
Mr Malambo said he was fortified in seeking to join the proceedings by the provisions of Section 3 of the Defamation Act Chapter 68 Volume 6 of the Laws of Zambia which provide that in an action for slander in respect of the words calculated to disparage the plaintiff in office, profession, calling, trade or business held or carried on by him at the time of publication, it shall not be necessary to allege or to prove special damage.
“We submit that not all statements uttered in court enjoy absolute privilege. Malicious defamation of a person during court proceedings is not protected. If a person is defamed in his profession, that defamation is actionable per se. The plaintiff has brought himself into the jurisdiction of the honourable court and can therefore not be heard to invoke immunity. The plaintiff in his capacity as sitting President can use the shield of immunity but cannot wield the spear. We therefore submit that the intended intervenor possesses the requisite locus standi and interest to be joined to the proceedings and therefore pray that the application has merit and should be allowed,” Mr Malambo submitted.