Opposition party leaders, Harry Kalaba and Sean Tembo, have been sued for defamation by Sikongo District Commissioner, for accusing him of dishonestly releasing a payment of K2 million.
Henry Mwalye stated that when he was fired as Western Province deputy Permanent Secretary (PS) by President Hakainde Hichilema, the two opposition leaders published defamatory statements alleging that the termination of his appointment was because of the fraudulent release of public funds in the sum of K2 million.
Mwalye in a statement of claim filed before the Lusaka High Court has cited Citizens’ First Party president, Kalaba and Patriots for Economic Progress (PEP), Tembo as first and second defendants.
The litigant said that sometime last year, Kalaba, issued defamatory statements at a media briefing, by opposition party leaders held at Ridgeway Sun hotel in Lusaka and was streamed live on various social media platforms.
Kalaba waa said to have uttered the following: “Administration has been practicing selective justice like in the recent firing of the former western Province Deputy PS Mr Henry Imbuwa Mwalye for breach of public financial regulations after a snap audit allegedly established that he had fraudulently signed for a huge allocation of public funds to his advantage”.
While Tembo was alleged to have uttered the following words: “former Western Province Deputy PS Mr Mwalye Imbuwa was never arrested or prosecuted for dishonestly releasing a payment of K2 million in December,2021. He was only fired.”
Mwalye contended that the said statements were false, defamatory and extremely damaging to him.
He explained that in line with the duties, he signed the letter for the release of the said funds on behalf of the PS as he was out of station at the material time.
“The plaintiff shall aver that sometime in 2021,in his capacity as deputy Permanent Secretary for western Province,he wrote to the PS of Ministry of Youth, Sport , Sport and Arts advising that the provicial administration for Western Province through the Provincial Fund Committee had shortlisted 10 Youth Empowerment projects and submitted the same for approval with no objection for the Ministry to pay the K2,000,000.00 which had been released by the Ministry and not yet been paid at the material time,” he said.
The plaintiff said there was no snap audit that established that he had fraudulently signed for any allocation of funds for his own benefit and that no criminal charges were brought against him because he did not breach any financial regulations.
Mwalye wants Kalaba and Tembo to pay damages for reputational damage and a complete retraction of the said defamatory words and an attendant public apology.
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