PROPERTY mogul Ken Sharpe’s Augur Investments is demanding USS1 million defamatory damages from the MDC Alliance and its vice president Tendai Biti for allegedly slandering his company on social media.
In summons filed before the High Court, the applicants are Augur Investments and Tatiana Aleshina, who are alleging that Biti and the opposition party scandalised their good standing over the Harare Airport Road tender through Twitter posts.
Aleshina is also the complainant in a criminal case in which Biti is accused of assaulting her outside the Harare Magistrates’ Courts earlier this month.
In the defamation case, Biti and the MDC Alliance have both been cited as respondents because the purported libellous message allegedly appeared on their official Twitter pages.
Augur and Aleshina want an order for removal of the tweets posted on December 4 and 13 implicating them in the Harare Airport Road scandal and for the defendants to print a retraction and apology in three widely circulating newspapers.
In one of the tweets, Biti allegedly wrote: “I have been at CID Law and Order since I am being charged with the most spurious, the most desperate of all charges. It is said that I called someone an idiot and that is said to be an assault.
“No amount of harassment will prevent us from fighting and exposing corruption. The Harare Airport Road Project was a total sink where thousands of hectares of land were illegally and fraudulently transferred to Augur Investments and its shelf companies. The land must be returned to the city and it citizens.”
Augur argued that the tweets portrayed them in bad light as they alleged that they were involved in fraudulent transactions and stole land from the City of Harare. They further argue that the MDC Alliance and Biti’s Twitter handles have a huge following locally and abroad such that the Tweets were widely read.
“The plaintiffs never committed the acts that the first defendant attributes to them. The comments are false, frivolous and vexatious. The plaintiffs’ conduct regarding the subject matter concerned has always gal and in good the parties con reads the summons.
Biti and his patty yet to respond to the suit.
Source – dailynews