Claims that Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has stayed at Meikles Hotel for over two years resulting in the Government paying over US$200 000 in hotel bills, have been dismissed as malicious and defamatory.
In a statement yesterday, the Finance Ministry’s chief director for Communications and Advocacy, Mr Clive Mphambela, said the article, which was published by the Zimbabwe Independent last Friday titled, “Govt lavishes Ncube with a US$200 000 hotel stay,” contained untrue statements.
“We write to inform you that not only is your report simply not factual, but it has misled the public through your unverified report of non-existent wasteful expenditure on account of Government and the Honourable Minister’s office.
“A simple check by your newspaper with the Meikles Hotel will confirm that at no time did the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development spend two years at the said hotel.
“Further, no such payment has either been paid by Government nor is payable by Government as alleged by you,” he said.
Mr Mphambela demanded that the Zimbabwe Independent retracts and apologise for misleading the public.
The media house has been asked to respond to the request for retraction by end of day today.
“We write to request that you, in your next edition, retract and apologise for this highly misleading report and that your retraction and apology receive the same prominence that you accorded to the report.
“We trust that as a responsible and widely published newspaper, you will appreciate the urgency and importance of you actioning our request without the need for any further action on our part to protect the public as well as the reputation and interests of the Government of Zimbabwe and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,” said Mr Mphambela.