The Econet Group of companies, which owns Zimbabwe’s largest mobile phone network Econet Wireless, is suing four Zimbabweans and a media house over two videos that they posted on YouTube and has asked them to remove the videos and retract the defamatory statements they made before 7 January or face a claim of damages for R20 million.
The two videos one entitled: Did Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet kill whistle blower Edward Matambanadzo, and another entitled: Why Chiyangwa wanted Strive Masiyiwa arrested, were posted on 7 November but have both been deleted from YouTube.
A letter from Fluxmans Attorneys, South African lawyers who say they are representing the Econet Group, cites Rutendo Benson Matinyarare, Jackson Muzivi, Mutumwa Mawere, Pardon Gambakwe and Gambakwe Media as the respondents.
The letter says the videos, one posted by Matinyarare and the other by Muzivi are intentionally false, defamatory and injurious because they claim that Econet and its executives are responsible for Edward Matambanadzo’s death and was involved in causing his fatal motor collision by hacking into his vehicle’s computer box.
It also says the videos allege that Econet and its executives are part of a “mafia”, thereby implying that they are structured secret organisation allegedly engaged in illegal and criminal conduct.
The letter says the videos allege that Econet did not only kill Matambanadzo but other people as well.
Econet, the videos allege, is involved in massive and elaborate evasion of duties and taxes in Zimbabwe and owes the government $350 million from 2009-2013.
Matambanadzo was reported to have exposed Econet’s tax evasion to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
Matinyarare today appeared ready for battle.
“I have just received amazing information from 2 senior Econet employees who say they know about base stations, duty evasion, ZIMRA $600mil fine, ZIMRA corruption, Edward Mutambanadzo death & how some CIO were brought in to deal with ‘problem’. They are going to write affidavits,” he tweeted.