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Durban - Pietermaritzburg businessman Sunny Gayadin, who is being sued for insulting a journalist and alleging he took bribes, has been accused of lying and hurling insults to get his way.
This was the argument of attorney Anand Nepaul, who is acting for SABC journalist Gary Govindsamy, in an R100 000 damages case in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Nepaul has also asked for interest to be paid on the damages amount and that legal costs be awarded against the businessman.
Gayadin has denied any wrongdoing and alleges that Govindsamy sued him because of a “vendetta”.
His attorney Narend San-gam asked for time to prepare his argument and the case was adjourned to August.
Gayadin is no stranger to court battles and last year lost out in his bid to buy the prime beachfront Natal Command site after the Constitutional Court ruled against him.
In his court papers, Govindsamy, who is an assignment editor at Lotus FM, claimed Gayadin insulted him by using “vulgar and derogatory” words during a telephone conversation.
He also claims Gayadin reported to the SABC’s then-acting regional editor, Thabo Mofokeng, that he was “taking bribes” because he had refused to air a story and interview Gayadin in December 2009.
The story related to the arrest of entertainer, Shaan Mukherjee, from India, who was embroiled in a legal spat with Gayadin.
Gayadin claimed in a Pietermaritzburg High Court case that Mukherjee owed him damages for failing to perform at a show in 2004.
In December 2009, Gayadin secured a court order against Mukherjee authorising his arrest unless he could provide security for the debt he allegedly owed. The entertainer was not arrested, but surrendered his passports to the sheriff of the court.
Govindsamy said Gayadin’s claims about the singer’s arrest could not be verified and he decided not to broadcast the story.
On Tuesday Nepaul said Gayadin had insulted Govindsamy after he refused to air the story and then resorted to “dirty tactics” to defame his client to his superior.
Nepaul said Govindsamy, Mofokeng and other SABC journalists who testified, had been credible and honest witnesses.
He said Mofokeng, who is no longer with SABC, had been objective and stuck to his version despite extensive cross-examination.
Nepaul said in contrast, Gayadin changed his versions several times during his testimony and had “destroyed his credibility”.
“He was clearly a deceitful, non-transparent and evasive witness who should not be relied upon.”