By Chancy Namadzunda:
Politician Joshua Chisa Mbele has apologized to son of President Lazarus Chakwera, Nick, over a Facebook post which insinuated that the later was involved in the embezzlement of K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds.
The post prompted Chakwera to drag Mbele to court for defamation.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Mbele, who is also a social and political commentator, retracted the earlier post saying he didn’t author it but somebody brought it to his attention.
“For the sake of Peace, Time & Good Neighborliness I would do what Common Sense advises my conscience to do.
“Apologize for remarks that appeared on my wall that purported that Mr Nick Chakwera is a business partner of Martin Mainja, the man whose companies allegedly got handpicked and paid obscenely exorbitant amounts of money to the tune of MK97,000,000 for the job that would have costed the taxpayers less than MK10,000,000.
“Though I categorically refuted that Mr Nick Chakwera and Mr Martin Mainja were connected in business, I still offer my sincere and unconditional apologies. I personally didn’t know Mr Nick Chakwera. I certainly don’t know what he does for a living. I had no reasons whatsoever to act with malice against him. The Audit Report never mentioned him. It was the public that came with business relationship claim,” reads part of the statement
Mbele said he refuted the public opinion when it couldn’t be authenticated.
“In summary, nobody wants to be fighting with anybody. Certainly not with people that you don’t know. Not with people that don’t hold public office. Not with innocent individuals. And certainly not with the family of your President.
“We are here as the ultimate fallout of what transpired with Covid Money. If everything happened as specifically intended, these Summons wouldn’t have been served. There would be no bad news. No investigations. No arrests. No fallout. I sincerely apologize, nevertheless, for the wrong impression it might have portrayed,” he said
According to a Statement of Case which The Atlas Malawi has seen, Mbele, a social and political commentator, on or about April 17, 2021 posted on his Facebook page that Pest Chem 1B Martin Mainja is the business partner of Chakwera.
Mainja was arrested along with Martin Mainja, Rashid Mtelera and Dominic Chimaliro on suspicion that they conspired to defraud government of K97 million through a contract awarded to Mainja’s company to fumigate Capital Hill and Kamuzu Palace.
“He has so far been irregularly awarded Business Opportunities by Office of President and Cabinet, Parliament, Ministry of Health, Malawi Prisons. New revelations; Martin Mainja is the business partner of the son of the President, Nick Chakwera. Problem; they were not being fairly paid for the done but clearly stealing. Fellow countrymen, we are at this juncture in our democracy. Newly elected government. Nine months into office.
“Tell me why Malawians cannot declare this government an enemy of people and remove it from office,” reads part of his earlier post.
Through his lawyers Ben and Winston Attorneys, Chakwera claims that the remarks will surely tend to lower him of the right-thinking members of the society generally, and it will cause him to be regarded with feelings of hatred, contempt, fear, ridicule and disesteem. Yet he holds the responsible position being a well known pastor at one of the major Churches in the country, Assemblies of God.
Among other things, Chakwera claimed for an award of aggravated compensatory damages, a retraction of the publication, a public apology and costs.