Tanzanian media tycoon presses on with UK libel bid

Tanzanian media tycoon Reginald Mengi is pressing on with his bid to sue a British lawyer for libel through the UK courts after making a payment into court of £100,000 as a security for costs.

Mengi was ordered to make the payment after a hearing last month at which Sarah Hermitage argued it would be difficult for her to recover her costs through the Tanzanian legal system in the event that they won the case.

Hermitage and her husband abandoned their 550-acre leased farm in Tanzania three years ago following a dispute with Mengi’s brother, businessman Benjamin Mengi.

Reginald Mengi argues that a website published by Hermitage carried a series of defamatory allegations about him in 2009 and 2010 and is demanding damages and an injunction to halt the claims.

Mengi, who runs a string of newspapers, television and radio stations in East Africa, says his personal and business reputation has been damaged and that he has suffered significant hurt, distress and embarrassment.

He is also demanding aggravated damages from Hermitage, who now lives in Kent, saying he has been deterred from taking part in international conferences, fearing he would be forced to spend time rebutting her false accusations which would compromise the effective functioning of the conferences.

Hermitage is being defended by solicitors Carter Ruck on a no win, no fee basis.

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