• Demands P10 million for defamation
• As former room mates’ fall-out gets ugly
• Magang served in Mogae’s Cabinet
Former President Festus Mogae has been slapped with a lawsuit for P10 million by Phakalane Golf Estate business moghul David Magang. Mogae has been given up to tomorrow (Monday) to have responded to a letter of demand delivered to his office on Monday.
The lawsuit emanates from a story published by Mmegi newspaper on October 16, 2015 based on an interview with Mogae, where reference is made to the relationship between Utility Corporations-Botswana Power Corporation and Water Utilities Corporation, and Phakalane Estates. In the story Mogae is quoted as saying "he should have taken time to invite and negotiate with the partners but maybe it is true they were hostile." Mogae then accused Magang of having committed a criminal act by entering into an unfair arrangement by providing infrastructure and getting the utilities for free. Mogae is quoted saying: "That's criminal, it is criminal, but he is a lawyer, surely he knew what he was doing".
Magang, through his lawyers, complains that the words are wrongful and defamatory in that they intended and were understood by readers to mean that he is dishonest in that he entered into an unlawful agreement with utility providers of Botswana for the provision of utilities for free at Phakalane Estates. He argues that the story was published in a widely distributed and read newspaper, and further posted on the internet and on various social networks and therefore further read internationally.
Magang's lawyers add that the story carries the additional sting that Magang is; a former MP and Cabinet Minister in Mogae's government who is not in good standing; not a law-abiding citizen; a lawyer who is not fit and proper to be a lawyer of good standing; an individual without moral fibre; is guilty of criminal conduct; a business man who is immoral and is involved in unfair business practices and whose conduct is unworthy of good standing.
"As a result of the defamation, our client has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of ten million pula," wrote attorney Akheel Jinabhai - Magang's lawyer.
Among other demands Magang also want Mogae to apologise to him, cause an article to be published in a newspaper (which carried the original story), on the internet and various social networks, retracting the article complained of, and further causing the newspaper to publish a statement which will explain the factual position of the provision of utilities to Phakalane Estates. "Should this article not be published prominently in the next issue of the newspaper after receipt of this letter, client will proceed to institute appropriate legal proceedings for the damages suffered," Magang's lawyer said.
The letter of demand has been copied to the editor, the owner, the distributor and the printers of the newspaper.