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Zimbabwean Woman Faces $45m Lawsuit Over ‘Defamatory Statement’ Against Couple

A couple in Zimbabwe is demanding $45 million from a woman whom they accuse of destroying their business and damaging their reputation after allegedly posting a defamatory statement on Facebook.

Given Mapukute and his wife, Ruramai Nhakuzah, accuse Loice Siziba of publishing a post in a group, “Verified 11 Exposing Zim shurugwis all over the world”, where she claimed the couple swindled her of money and were refusing to refund her.

The couple filed a case last week at the High Court in which they are demanding $5million in damages for defamation, $25 million in actual loss of business and $15 million in loss of future business, plus the costs of the suit.

In addition to that, the couple also wants the statement taken down from Facebook within 48 hours of the court’s ruling.

According to local daily, The Herald, the suit against Siziba came up in February when she sent a text message to the couple threatening them with certain consequences unless they paid her back her money, believed to be between $3,000 and $4,000.

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Siziba claimed that she had partnered with the couple in a business venture in which they defrauded her of the said amount. She further alleged that the couple victimised her by filing a police report against her despite owing her money.

The message read: “Good morning, I’m done with your nonsense I’m going to sort you guys out not nzira yelaw (not the legal way) coz you seem to be stubborn.”

“I’m going to go on and pay strongest sangoma (witch-doctor) like Baba Banda you whole family will suffer. Please save this message you will come for help it will be too late.”

Lawyers for the couple, which is well known in the business and social community, argue that they have suffered greatly due to the post by Siziba.

“The said words, in the context of the said defamatory statement in the public post, are wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiffs in that they were intended and were understood by readers of the post to mean that plaintiffs are dishonest in that they venture into business with innocent people, but defraud them of their hard earned cash.”

It is alleged that Mapukute failed to land a tender worth $25 million after the committee overseeing the process came across the post while doing its background research on him as a suitable candidate.

“This is because, each time any person searches for couple’s names on Facebook, the post is the first post that pops up on the Facebook newsfeed,” the couple argued, while claiming that the post will also likely cost them any future business.

“As a result of the defamation, the plaintiffs have also suffered psychological trauma, stress, and anxiety for the loss of the tender and the risk of future business loss,” the lawyers, Muvingi and Mugadza Legal Practitioners, said.

Siziba, The Herald reported, has not yet responded to the suit.

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Written by PH

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