HARARE – Dexter Nduna, the Chegutu West Zanu PF MP, has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa for accusing him of being a thief and “intentionally damaging his reputation.”
The lawsuit was filed in the High Court yesterday.
This came after Mliswa accused the chairperson of the portfolio committee on Transport, Dexter Nduna of embezzling $11 million from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara).
In his application, lodged through his lawyers Chambati, Mataka and Makonese Attorneys, Nduna said the utterances by Mliswa were defamatory as they were not true.
“The utterances by the defendant are false and malicious meant to damage the reputation of the plaintiff in the eyes of government ministers, fellow National Assembly members and the constituency that he represents,” the court papers read in part.
“The plaintiff was presented as a corrupt person not fit for public office and the consequential effect is that he may not be appointed to positions of authority as a result.”
The theft accusations were made by Mliswa in the National Assembly on Monday during a portfolio committee hearing.
The meeting subsequently failed to take off after Mliswa also accused the interim committee chairperson Roy Bhila of being HIV positive.
The rant by Mliswa came after Bhila asked him, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, Anele Ndebele and Leonard Chikomba to recuse themselves from the proceedings until they are cleared of allegations of extorting $400 000 from businessman James Ross Goddard.
This comes after Mliswa was forced to relinquish his post as chairperson of the portfolio committee over the alleged extortion of the $400 000 said to be a “facilitation fee” to enable Goddard’s JRG Contracting to secure a mining contract at Hwange.
“You did not take your ARVs, you need to take your AVRs and I think it is now knocking your head,” Mliswa told Bhila.
Apparently, Mliswa is upset with Nduna for leading a provincial putsch against his sister, the Zanu PF provincial secretary for finance Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and allegedly influencing the ruling party’s Mashonaland West provincial executive council (Pec) to pass a vote of no confidence in her last Sunday.
An apoplectic Mliswa accused the Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda of ignoring Nduna’s alleged corruption and graft by other MPs. Nduna charged at Mliswa, exhorting him not to call him a “thief.”
A rebellious Mliswa kept branding Nduna a “thief”, insisting he had been fingered in a Zinara forensic audit.
“You are a double thief, a triple thief,” Mliswa badgered Nduna, daring him to a physical confrontation.
Nduna, a former security agent, restrained himself from engaging in a physical confrontation, warning grimly that he would deal with the Norton MP outside Parliament.
The two MPs, however, shared a seat during a National Assembly sitting yesterday and even shook hands.