Defamation ruling postponed

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MASERU — The High Court on Monday postponed judgment in a case in which a former National University of Lesotho (NUL) pro-vice-chancellor is suing Public Eye newspaper for defamation.

Nqosa Mahao is suing Public Eye for M800 000 for alleging that he sexually assaulted a secretary in his office.

The story which appeared in the March 21, 2002 issue was headlined, Sex scandal hits NUL which was penned by Moeti Thelejane who is now late.

Mahao instituted legal proceedings against the newspaper claiming that it had defamed him.

Also being sued are then Public Eye editor Bethuel Thai, Professor Umesh Kumar, Epic Printers (Pty) Ltd and Voice Multimedia (Pty) Ltd.

Mahao stated in his court papers that the defendants had unlawfully and wrongfully and with criminal intent defamed him by publishing the article.

The story, Mahao says, was plainly defamatory.

“The National University of Lesotho pro-vice chancellor Nqosa Mahao has thrown the country’s only university into a steaming sex scandal that has culminated into an investigation, into allegations that he sexually assaulted his secretary,” Mahao quoted the paper as saying.

“Bribery allegations involving a security guard who allegedly witnessed the alleged sexual assault have also been thrown into the investigations,” Public Eye said in the article.

Mahao said the words which were published were defamatory.

“The publication was read and understood by the readers of the aforesaid paper as concerning or as being about the plaintiff,” Mahao said.

The trial was concluded in May 6, 2008 when the case was postponed for judgment.

The date for the judgment is still to be set.

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