Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Retired Major-General Happyton Bonyongwe is persisting with his $10 million defamation lawsuit against Africa Consolidated Resources boss Andrew Cranswick.
Last year the High Court rescinded a default award to Maj-Gen Bonyongwe in a case in which another judge, Justice Happias Zhou, described the $10 million as a strange award in Zimbabwe considering that most damages awarded since the introduction of the multi-currency system ranged from $2 000 to $7 000.
Maj-Gen Bonyongwe’s lawyer, Mr Isaiah Mureriwa of Scanlen and Holderness, confirmed to The Herald that the lawsuit is still alive and his client was persisting with his claim.
“A pre-trial conference was held recently and the matter was referred to trial,” said Adv Mureriwa. “We are now waiting for the High Court to set the date for the hearing.”
During a pre-trial conference the parties failed to reach a settlement, but agreed on the issues to be determined at trial.
The trial will determine whether or not Cranswick published a report concerning Gen Bonyongwe’s alleged involvement in an illicit trade in diamonds.
If he did, and if it is found that the report was defamatory of Maj-Gen Bonyongwe, the court would then determine defamatory damages.
Maj-Gen Bonyongwe sued Cranswick over a WikiLeaks report that linked him to alleged diamond looting in Chiadzwa.
In 2012, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo granted a default judgment against Cranswick and ordered him to pay costs of the suit.
The decision was made after Cranswick’s defence papers were struck out of the record for failure to attend pre-trial conferences.
Mr Jonathan Samukange successfully challenged the default judgment on behalf of Cranswick.
Justice Happias Zhou set aside the default judgment and ordered the reinstatement of Cranswick’s opposing papers.
He also directed the parties to go through the normal court process starting from the pre-trial conference.