By Daniel Nemukuyu
South African media company SuperSport International (Pty) Ltd has said Spirit Embassy Church leader Prophet Uebert Angel’s US$1,5 million lawsuit over publication of an alleged prophecy by the latter that Liverpool would win the English Premier League soccer title was premature.
The media house argues that it was not yet known if the alleged prediction on Liverpool’s victory would be false because the premiership was still on.
Prophet Angel sued SuperSport over an article on the company’s website saying the Zimbabwean church leader allegedly prophesied that Liverpool Football Club would win this year’s English Premiership League title.
Prophet Angel denies ever predicting the outcome of the premiership and that attribution of the prophecy to him was false, malicious and defamatory. He argues in his suit that he never made such a prediction and if Liverpool fail to win the title, his followers will lose confidence in him.
In the defendant’s plea filed this month, SuperSport’s lawyer Advocate Eric Morris — instructed by Atherstone and Cook law firm — argued that defamation can only be proved if Liverpool fails to clinch the title.
“Defendants admit that the words quoted were published, but continue to deny that they were defamatory and point out that the event predicted has not as yet transpired so as to make it impossible to state whether or not such words are false.”
It is also argued that Prophet Angel failed to properly cite the names and addresses of the two defendants in the case, thereby breaching Order 3 of the Rules of the High Court of Zimbabwe.
The lawyers argue that Prophet Angel wrongly cited SuperSport as the first defendant when the company is called SuperSport International (Pty) Ltd. They also say the prophet wrongly cited the second defendant as MIH Group when its proper name is MIH Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
The company’s lawyers say Multichoice Africa is an independent company registered in Mauritius and that its property cannot be attached in settlement of SuperSport International’s debts.
“Funds for DSTv subscriptions are paid to Multichoice Africa Limited, a company with limited liability, registered in terms of the laws of Mauritius and a company which has no connection of any nature whatsoever with the first and second defendants, so that the defendants have no call on the assets of Multichoice Limited whose assets cannot be attached under Section 15 of the High Court Act,” reads the plea.
In the article published on www.supersort.com at the end of December 2013 (“Zimbabwean prophet predicts Liverpool to win title”), Prophet Angel was quoted saying: “Liverpool, I am with you this year and God has shown me he is returning you to your glory days.” The Herald