By Mary Taruvinga
PREMIER Tobacco Auction Floors managing director, Philemon Tendai Mangena is suing the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) for $1 million for alleged defamation after the State broadcaster published a story accusing him of stealing from farmers.
ZBC is being sued together with the reporter who worked on the story.
According to the summons filed by Mangena, the allegations portrayed him as a corrupt individual who used his position for personal gain and committed criminal offences with impunity.
The story, according to court papers, alleged that Mangena was running a parallel system comprising of hooligans bent at robbing farmers of their hard-earned tobacco and seemingly to the prejudice of Premier Tobacco Auction Floors as well.
“The report suggested that the plaintiff as managing director of Premier Tobacco Auction Floors, lacked proper corporate governance practices and ran the company like a jungle. The plaintiff was portrayed as a criminal yet he is a law abiding citizen.
“The allegation contained in the news report was offensive, untruthful, malicious and defamatory of the plaintiff in that it was meant and reasonably understood by members of the public that the plaintiff is a criminal who lacks integrity and that he actively participated in corrupt practices and as such, is morally decadent,” said lawyers Hatinahama and Associates who are representing Mangena.
The lawyers said Mangena is an accomplished business executive and professional who believes in positively impacting the community.
“The community in which he lives in and does business with knows him to be a person of good repute and character,” they said before demanding US$1 million.
The case is pending.