By Chisomo Phiri
High Court in Blantyre on Tuesday ordered Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) under Times Group to pay K50 Million to former Minister of Agriculture,George Chaponda over libel articles that the media house was publishing against him as a suspect in the 2017’s maize scandal.
Among others, the scandal involved the suspicious purchase of maize from Zambia at an inflated price.
Chaponda was then fired as agriculture minister after having his house raided by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over the matter.
But later, the court found him not guilty of the charges he was answering.
However, the court documents we have seen indicate that Chaponda demanded K350 Million from BNL Times but after scrutiny, the court arrived at K50 Million.
“The claimant proposed that he be compensated with K350,000,000.00 while the defendant that a sum of K5,000,000.00 would be adequate to compensate the defendant”, reads the document.
“The Honorable judge directed that the damages should not be huge damages which will end up bankrupting the defendant,” It adds.
Reacting to the ruling, Chaponda expressed relief saying the verdict should set as a lesson to other media houses who carried their stories without facts or balancing.
The Mulanje South-West lawmaker added that this should serve as a lesson to “Malawians that we should love one another and avoid cooking lies with the aim of denting other people’s image”.