HONORARY Consul General for Belgium in Zambia Diego Casilli has sued the Daily Nation Newspaper in the Lusaka High Court for defamation for alleging that he had connived with the UPND and some lawyers to oust the ruling PF in the August 12 general elections by sabotaging election results through the parallel voter tabulation (PVT) system.
Casilli, who is the proprietor of East Park mall, is seeking damages for libel on the scandalous, malicious, and libelous article published by Daily Nation against him in its newspaper which appeared on the front pages of its publication.
The businessman wants aggravated damages for the callousness and malice exhibited by Daily Nation in regards to the effect the newspaper article would have on his reputation.
He also wants a permanent injunction against the media organisation restraining it, its editors and reporters from publishing any other such material as was contained in the article complained of or publishing similar scandalous, malicious and libelous material against him.
In his statement of claim, Casilli, an Italian and resident in Zambia, said the Daily Nation in its Tuesday July 20, 2021 edition, vol 7 issue no. 3003 newspaper edition, published a story on its front page titled “Hijacked PVT Sparks Uproar”.
He stated that Daily Nation alleged that he had paid Kelvin Bwalya popularly known as KBF and John Sangwa, among others, to highjack the PVT project by OCIDA in order to unseat the PF.
Casilli contended that the contents of the said article were malicious and libelous as they were published with the specific intent of defaming him and smearing his name, repute and character as well as lowering his standing in the minds and opinions of right thinking members of the public.
“The said words contained in the article complained of, in so far as they stated and implied that the plaintiff is engaging lawyers and colluding with the UPND to unseat the PF, have brought him into public odium and scandal,”Casilli stated.
“The article implied that the plaintiff is aligned with an opposition party, namely the UPND in seeking to assist the said party to unseat the current ruling party, PF and President Edgar Lungu, that he has engaged in criminality and actions of sabotage against the state, the electoral system, the president and the ruling party by purportedly recruiting named lawyers to sabotage the election results in favour of UPND.”
Casilli further contended that the words complained of meant that he was seeking to foster post election unrest by the said sabotage of the election results and that he was failing in his duties and abusing his role as honorary Consul General for Belgium by actively engaging in partisan politics.
He said this was not the first time that Daily Nation had published defamatory articles against him and he had in the past obtained an injunction from the High Court against the defendant to prevent it from publishing malicious material against his companies.
“The plaintiff will rely on the proceedings under cause number 2017/HP/1137. The defendants have declared a war of fake news against the plaintiff,” said Casilli.
He is further demanding interest on all sums found due and owing and any other order the court may deem fit and costs.