Attorney Rantao said that by linking Sunday Standard with American funders, Mmegi portrayed them as pawns used by that country and international funders to “denigrade” Botswana.
Sunday Standard has through, Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys, served Mmegi newspaper publishers with a P4 million demand as damages for defamation and asked them to publish an “unreserved and unconditional apology” on the front-page of their Friday edition of the paper this week.
According to a letter written by Tshiamo Rantao and served to Mmegi on Monday, the demand by Sunday Standard comes after Mmegi published several articles on 8 July 2016 and 15 July 2016 “which were false and defamatory.” The articles written by the Managing Editor and shareholder of Mmegi newspaper, Titus Mbuya, claimed that Sunday Standard was linked to the CIA, an American spy agency. In an article published on 15th July, Mbuya further claimed that Sunday Standard had “knocked the late Louis Nchindo(MHSRIP) off over P500 000.00 which is still outstanding from his investment in their paper.”
According to Rantao, this statements are false and defamatory of their clients since Nchindo never invested P500 000. “Your false statements in this article mean, and were understood by their addressees to mean (in their ordinary meaning or, alternatively, in their secondary meaning), any one or more of the following: our clients are criminals; our clients are dishonest,” he said.
The law firm said the article by Mmegi linking Sunday Standard owners Outsa Mokone, Spencer Mogapi and Prof Malema with the late Nchindo resulted in the trio suffering damages of P750 000 each “as a result of the defamatory statements”. The publication is demanded to pay the Sunday Standard owners a total sum of P2, 250, 000 on or before 2 August 2016 (next week Tuesday).
Sunday Standard lawyers also want their editors to each be paid P1, 000, 000 as an additional claim for defamation damages from Mmegi articles of 8th July 2016. The said article linked the trio to CIA, something which Rantao says suggests his clients are criminals, dishonest and have been obtaining funds from American sponsors or funders by lying. He also said that by linking his clients with American funders, Mmegi portrayed them as pawns used by that country and international funders to “denigrade” Botswana. Rantao added that the alleged link suggests that the association with America through the CIA and an international organization means Sunday Standard was accused of treason in terms of section 34 (e) of the Penal Code and were a threat to “the security or sovereignty of Botswana.”
The total to be paid by Mmegi according to the demand is P4 000 000 for damages suffered by Mokone, Mogapi, Malema and their company which owns Sunday Standard- Tsodilo Services.