BLANTYRE (MaraviPost)— Blantyre Newspapers Limited, the publisher of Sunday Times has been taken to court by wife to Malawi cashgate prisoner Oswald Lutepo over a story the publication carried on Sunday to the effect that the Lutepo’s had with his wife in Prison.
Below is the complaint letter as filed by the Lawyer for the Lutepo family to the management of BNL commencing the lawsuit.
Our Ref: 31/2016/JKK
6th June, 2016
The Chief Executive Officer
Blantyre Newspapers Limited
CLAIM FOR ONE BILLION KWACHA DAMAGES FOR LIBEL
We are retained by Mr. Oswald Lutepo and Mrs. Gertrude Lutepo hereinafter called our clients, to claim One Billion Malawi Kwacha damages for Libel.
It is our clients’ story that you published an article on the front page of your Sunday Times Newspaper alleging that our above named clients had sexual intercourse at Chichiri Prison where Mr. Oswald Lutepo is currently serving a jail term.
Our clients deny having had sexual intercourse at the penal institution and state that they are fully aware that sexual intercourse is not permissible at penal institutions in Malawi and such instructions were fully communicated by the authorities when Mr. Oswald Lutepo commenced his jail term.
Our clients believe that the article is some calculation intending to prevent Mr. Lutepo from enjoying reduction of his jail term (by a third) by way of remission on account of good behaviour. Your article may also have some effect on the impending appeal on sentence.
We find the publication of your article repugnant to journalistic ethics as Mr. Lutepo was not contacted for his side of the story.
We do not believe that prisoners have no rights to their reputation.
We therefore have instructions to claim from you the sum of One Billion Malawi Kwacha being damages for libel on the footing of aggravated damage.
Should we not get any positive response from you within 7 days from the date hereof, we have instructions to commence legal proceeding in the High Court without any further recourse to you whatsoever where over and above the amount claimed herein you shall be condemned to pay our costs.
JOSEPH K. KAMKWASI
For: JOE & MAX CHAMBERS
Cc: Our Clients