The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by opposition CCC legislator Tendai Biti against a US$1 million lawsuit against him for allegedly defaming the owners of Augur Investments.
Biti filed an appeal at the Supreme Court after losing his lawsuit objection in the High Court by a default judgement. However, Justice Chitakunye ruled that Biti’s appeal was improperly filed. The judge said Biti first needed to set aside the default High Court judgement before appealing to the Supreme Court. In addition, Biti filed his appeal after the mandatory 10-day period had lapsed.
The lawsuit stemmed from accusations by Biti that Augur Investments owner Kenneth Sharpe was looting Zimbabwe’s resources. Augur Investments and its executives Tatiana Aleshina and Sharpe are each seeking damages from Biti totaling US$1 million.
The case was scheduled to begin in the High Court but did not proceed after Biti filed his appeal to the Supreme Court. Augur Investments’ lawyer accused Biti of delay tactics while Biti’s lawyer argued that the case was going to be postponed anyway due to the appeal.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Augur Investments, dismissing Biti’s appeal. The opposition legislator will now need to seek to set aside the default High Court judgement before proceeding with his appeal case against the US$1 million lawsuit against him.