By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
08 April 2014
Daily News editor Stanley Gama and his senior reporter Fungi Kwaramba were on Monday charged by the police for allegedly criminally defaming businessman Kamal Khalfan.
Both Gama and Kwaramba were summoned to Highlands Police Station where they were made to sign warned and cautioned statements, reports said.
Charges against the two come after Khalfan recently filed a $10 million suit against the Daily News. Kwaramba has published many stories on Khalfan, suggesting that the tycoon was using his political connections to link dubious businessmen to President Robert Mugabe.
According to the Daily News, one of the people introduced to Mugabe by Khalfan was Stamen Stanchev. The Bulgarian reportedly travelled to Zimbabwe trying to promote trade relations between the two countries. In December 2013 Stanchev was jailed in Romania for 11 years for economic espionage.
The Daily News has reportedly responded to the lawsuit from Khalfan with its own notice to defend its claim that it has emails that prove Khalfan’s involvement in various scandals. In one such email Khalfan is said to have offered to assist a German national to corruptly acquire diamonds from top government officials.
According to reports Khalfan does not deny being the writer of these emails. Rather, he argues that the Daily News sought to portray him as a ‘well connected’ swindler who ‘manipulates such connections to conduct illegal and corrupt deals in Zimbabwe.’ Khalfan is patron of the Zimbabwe National Army Charity. He also owns Catercraft, a company in which ZANU PF has shares.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists has condemned the arrest of Gama and Kwaramba as intimidation of the media by the elite.