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MBC files defence in Callista Mutharika defamation case

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The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), second accused in a case former first lady Callista Mutharika sued the State broadcaster and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Grazeldar Jeffrey over defamation, has filed a defence.

MBC denies all allegations levelled against the broadcaster and has, instead, asked the court to dismiss the case.

MBC, through its lawyer Chancy Gondwe, said it does not have any knowledge of a rally of DPP on June 2 2018 where they broadcast live the alleged words in respect of the claimant and asks Callista to provide proof.

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“The second defendant never broadcast live any slandering of the claimant and the claimant is put to strict proof therefore… In the alternative, the second defendant pleads that if the pleaded slander was broadcast live by them, a fact which is denied; the same enjoys a qualified privilege and was a neutral reportage,” reads the defence in part.

Further, MBC pleads that, if defamatory words were broadcast, a fact which is denied, the said broadcast was innocent dissemination as the second defendant had no prior knowledge of what Jeffrey would utter and did also not have control as it was a live transmission.

MBC also argues that Callista’s statement case is incompetent as it contains not only the material facts of the case but also the evidence, which is in inter alia; hence, prays to the court to have the matter dismissed.

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“The second defendant states that the statement of case herein is embarrassing as it contains a claim of MK500,000,000 being aggravated damages for the slander when the same ought to have been unliquidated claim. The second defendant therefore prays that the statement of case herein be struck out and the action be dismissed,” reads the defence.

But Mutharika’s lawyer Ambokire Salimu said MBC is only trying to play games, saying he is ready to see them in court.

Jeffrey has not yet filed a defence as she said she had not seen a summons of the case.

Bingu, the elder brother to incumbent President Peter Mutharika, died of a heart attack after collapsing in his office at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe in April 2012, according to a report released in 2012 by a commission of inquiry.

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