By AARON CHIYANZO
HAKAINDE Hichilema has demanded US$3 million from former Finance Minister, Edith Nawakwi for alleged defamation of character following an expose’ that he allegedly fraudulently handled the privatisation of State owned enterprises.
Ms Nawakwi claimed that the UPND president, Mr Hichilema did not declare interest in the sale of Intercontinental Hotel in Livingstone to Sun International despite having interest in it but only advised Government that the lowest bidder was the best because the firm would invest US$50 million and create more jobs unlike other bidders.
The privatisation documents for Intercontinental Hotel indicate that Sun International of South Africa, with a bid of US$5.65 million for the hotel was the lowest bidder even if it was offered the deal.
The transaction document states that Victoria Falls Travel Bureau, a private company incorporated in Zambia bid US$20 million but was sidelined.
In a letter dated September 2, 2020 addressed to Ms Nawakwi, MrHichilema, through lawyers Malambo and Company threatened to sue the former minister if she does not pay US$3 million within 24 hours.
Mr Hichilema however said he was amenable to receiving reasonable proposals from Ms Nawakwi on how she intended to settle the said sum.
He also demanded for a detailed and unreserved retraction and apology from Ms Nawakwi and to be given the same prominence in the media as the alleged defamatory statement.
“That you undertake in writing to desist from making the defamatory statements or any similar statements going forward,” the letter read in part.
Mr Hichilema stated that he had incurred and continued to incur great expense both locally and internationally because of Ms Nawakwi’s claims.
The UPND leader claimed the alleged defamatory statement caused a stain to his candidature for the Zambian Presidency.
He also said that he suffered mental distress, anguish and torture.