The Sunday Standard ran on the front page of its August 31 ÔÇô September 1 2008 edition, an article entitled, “Naledi Motors, German partners use politics to win plum BDF deal.” This article purportedly constituted a report of court proceedings held before Hon. Kirby J. at the High Court at Lobatse, on the Friday, 29th August 2008 in the matter between Naledi Motors, and the Attorney-General of Botswana and others.
In particular, the article purported to quote at length from a judgment of the Court aforesaid, and to draw various conclusions and inferences therefrom.
Prompted by letters from the Registrar of the High Court, and Collins Newman (Counsel for Naledi Motors), this week the Editorial Staff of the Sunday Standard conducted further investigation into the content of the article. Such inquiry has revealed that the same was fraught with grave inaccuracies. The true facts are as follows:
On the 29th August 2008, the Learned Judge aforesaid dismissed Naledi Motors’ application. It was further ordered that, reasons for such dismissal would follow. No punitive costs order was made.
The source of the quotes wrongly attributed to His Lordship in the article, was in fact the Heads of Argument of one of the litigants involved in the matter, Commercial Motors (Pty) Ltd.
The article was published with Naledi Motors not being afforded an opportunity to comment on the content thereof, in breach of elementary principles of responsible journalism. Indeed, the imputations against Naledi Motors were completely unfounded.
In the premises, we are of the humble opinion that it behooves us, ethically and professionally, to set the record aright; and more especially, to retract the article aforesaid, in its entirety.
Accordingly, we hereby unreservedly apologise to the Administration of Justice, His Lordship Hon. Kirby J in particular, and to all parties involved in the matter aforesaid. In this regard, we make specific reference to Naledi Motors. Indeed, we also tender sincere apologies to our readership, our colleagues, business partners and other stakeholders, for the errors detailed above; more especially, for all the inconvenience, damage, and hurt that may have been caused by the article.
In the same breath, we are glad to advise that we have learned from this unfortunate experience, and we undertake to carry the lessons into a future defined with the very highest of professional standards.