LUSAKA businessman Valden Findlay has urged the Lusaka High Court to confirm the ex-party order of injunction granted to him restraining Kambwili and his agents from defaming him as the opposition leader has failed to support his defence of fair comment.
Findlay said the NDC leader had lamentably failed to produce any public documents which he relied upon when he accused him of being a drug Lord.
In this case, Findlay has sued Kambwili for defamation of character for alleging that he was a drug dealer, taking advantage of the Presidential trips and the Presidential plane to courier drugs.
The businessman is seeking damages for libel and slander and an injunction to restrain Kambwili from publishing the said defamatory words or any similar words.
High Court judge Elita Mwikisa restrained Kambwili from uttering defamatory words against Findlay through an ex-parte injunction.
When the matter came up for inter-partes hearing of an application for injunction by Findlay, the businessman argued that a defendant seeking to rely on the right to free speech must ensure that what they say about the plaintiff was supported by material evidence and ensure that no wrong act is done in the process of issuing statements against him.
Findlay urged the court to confirm the ex-party order of injunction because Kambwili, having admitted to the words complained of as being fair comment, had failed to support his defence of fair comment.
“The defendant, as admitted in his affidavit in opposition, has lamentably failed to produce even a single thread of evidence to substantiate this reliance on the defenses of justification and fair comment. The defendant has failed to produce public documents that he relied upon to say the words he uttered against the plaintiff on September 9,” Findlay said.
But Kambwili asked the court to dismiss the ex-parte injunction against him, insisting that he was merely stating facts that were already in public domain which could not amount to defamation.
Kambwili said the words complained of were of fair comment and emanated from his reasonable observations.
He said the role of the opposition is to provide checks and balances to government as many queries arose in public domain as regards the relationship between the President and Findlay adding that the purported statements were made as a request to the President to give an explanation about the relationship.
The NDC leader said that it was true in substance and fact that Findlay was once detained by law enforcing agencies for drug related offences during the reign of first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
“It is true in substance and fact that transcripts stemming from the cross-examination of Vicky Goswami, who is currently in detention in the United States of America, where he and the notorious Akasha brothers, were extradited from Kenya by the DEA to face charges for various drug related crimes, vehicle theft and murder, stated that the plaintiff was part of the syndicate of drug dealers in Southern Africa,” Kambwili said.
“It is true in Substance and in fact that the President of Zambia and Findlay have been seen together during official State functions and have also been seen together on both local and international trips.”
In his response, Findlay said despite being written to on September 12 by his advocates, Kambwili did not bother to respond or justify his statements but went on to issue further injurious statements against him the same day.
Findlay said Kambwili’s acts demonstrate that there was malice on his part as he continued issuing words which were injurious about him despite it being brought to his attention that the statements issued were not true.
“The behaviour of the defendant in this sequence of events demonstrates bad faith on his part and warrants this court granting an injunction to restrain him from causing further injury to the plaintiff until a final determination of this matter,” said Findlay.
Justice Mwikisa has since reserved ruling on the matter for December 10, 2019.