Businessman Zuneth Sattar’s associate Ashok Kumar Sreedharan, popularly known as Ashok Nair, has sued Anti- Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma for defamation.
The lawsuit is in connection with a leaked audio clip in which Chizuma discusses investigations into Sattar’s alleged corrupt dealings with a person yet to be officially identified.
Last month, President Lazarus Chakwera claimed that Chizuma had confirmed to him that the voice in the audio was hers.
Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal Gladys Gondwe confirmed the development Tuesday, saying the matter was filed at the Lilongwe Registry.
“I can confirm that there is a claim for damages before the High Court in Lilongwe filed by one Ashok Nair against Ms Martha Chizuma. The matter is yet to be set down,” she said.
A statement of claim filed by Nair’s lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta indicates that the gist of what Chizuma said in the leaked clip is that Nair is an extremely corrupt person who corrupted a judge to have him released from prison where he was remanded.
The claim further indicates that the leaked clip suggests that Nair is so corrupt that the whole justice system will not help and that he is a criminal who has committed an offence punishable with imprisonment.
“By reason of the premises, the claimant has been greatly injured in his credit, character and reputation and has been brought into public scandal, ridicule, odium and contempt,” reads the statement dated February 14 2022.
Nair then demands damages, damages on the footing of aggravated or exemplary damages and costs for the action.
The summons accompanying the statement of the case gives Chizuma 28 days from the date of service to either satisfy the claim or file a defence and list of documents.
“If you do not intend to contend the proceedings, you must, within 14 days after service of this summons on you including the day of service, return the accompanying response stating therein that you do not intend to contest the proceedings but desire a stay of enforcement of the judgement if any.
“Take notice that if you fail to satisfy the claim or file defence and a list of documents or return the response within the stated time or if you return the response without stating an intention to contest the proceedings, the claimant may proceed with the claim and a judgement may be entered against you without notice,” reads the summons.
Nair was arrested, alongside former Lands minister Kezzie Msukwa, for alleged corrupt dealings to do with the acquisition of land.
The High Court sitting in Zomba stayed Msukwa’s arrest and moved the file to Lilongwe, where Judge Simeon Mdeza took over.
Nair joined the case and his arrest was also stayed pending judicial review, which the two were given permission to commence.