Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has filed a multimillion-dollar libel suit against Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton in relation to an official press statement whereby the PNC leader accused the minister of being involved in a major corruption scandal, relative to the importation of chicken.
The press release in question was issued on December 2, 2023 under the heading “Breaking News: Minister of Agriculture and other officials in the Ministry accused of major corruption”, and the statement alleged that the minister and others are smuggling “truckloads of chicken” into the country.
In court documents, Mustapha argued that the words used in the press release are completely false and without any foundation in reality.
In fact, the Minister detailed that on the same day, following the issuance of such a statement from the Opposition Leader, he himself released a statement refuting the claims.
Mustapha outlined that following the issuance of his statement, there has since been no apology or withdrawal of the Opposition Leader’s statements/allegations.
Instead, Mustapha explained, the Opposition Leader issued another statement, continuing the allegations.
Against this backdrop, the Agriculture Minister argues that his reputation has been damaged and that he has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment as a result of the Opposition Leader’s allegations.
Among other things, Mustapha is seeking in excess of $5 million for libel as well as an injunction restraining Norton and his agents from further publishing similar words which are defamatory of the Agriculture Minister.
Mustapha is also seeking an order directing the Opposition Leader to retract and apologise for making false and defamatory statements about the Agriculture Minister.