Court cleans Cleaners Association president of defamation charge

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CLEANING Association of Zambia president Lawrence Makumbi has walked clean and free for a libel charge in the Lusaka Magistrates Court.

Makumbi was dragged to Court by Nemchem managing director Tonny Burato who lodged a complaint against him for defamation of character.

Makumbi was charged with six counts of defamation but the matter was dismissed for want of prosecution.

Allegations before Court were that Makumbi on behalf of Luwi Cleaning Solutions Limited the company in which he is alleged to be managing director between April 13, 2024 and June 2023 unlawfully published defamatory matter through a letter dated April 13 , 2024 against Nemchem managing director Toni Burato by alleged that he bribed police officers to arrest him.

Makumbi on the same date allegedly defamed Burato when he accused him of corrupting traditional chiefs to retain his business in Solwezi and Kalumbila.

The CAZ president alleged that Nemchem International Limited is a criminal organisation, unethical, unprofessional and a gangster type of shrewd business entity.

Makumbi is reported to have said that Burato has a personal union in Zambia and has been deducting K157, 000 from over 7000 and used the money to buy Naomi lodge in the Lower Zambezi, Marambo River in Livingstone, Shamba lodge in Kitwe and tying to its the money to buy Toys hotel in Solwezi.

He is said to have accused Burato of being a bully and killing businesses owned by women in Zambia.

It was further alleged that Makumbi in his capacity as CAZ president on August 24, 2023 published defamatory matter on a radio program by alleging that Nemchem is a foreign owned company which has been awarded cleaning service contract at KKIA contrary to statutory instrument no. 22 of 2019 when it is a Zambian owned company.

However when the matter came up for possible plea yesterday magistrate Ann Holland dismissed the case for want of prosecution as Burato failed to obtain consent from the DPP and engage lawyers to privately prosecute Makumbi.

“The prosecution have failed to convince the DPP that they have a case against Lawrence Makumbi to allow them proceed with private prosecution for the offences of defamation which is civil in nature,”said magistrate Holland.

“I hereby discharge the accused of libel.”

Speaking after he was discharged Makumbi said he was delighted that he was set free as the charges were malicious.

He indicated that he will continue advocating for Zambian entrepreneurs in the cleaning sector to be given opportunities at business without being intimidated whenever he highlights foreign dominance in the cleaning sector.

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba January 10, 2024.

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