Dangote sues Zambian minister over bribe claim

The entrance of the Dangote Industries cement plant under construction in Pout, some 50 km from Dakar, on February 6, 2014 (AFP Photo/Seyllou)

Lusaka (AFP) - Dangote Industries Zambia is suing the country’s labour minister, Fackson Shamenda, for defamation after he claimed that a senior company official tried to bribe him, court documents showed Monday.

The subsidiary of Nigeria's Dangote Group -- owned by Aliko Dangote who is ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest man in Africa -- is claiming unspecified damages for slander and libel as well as special damages in the sum of 112,042.84 kwacha ($17,728), according to documents filed in the High Court.

On September 15, the Post Newspaper carried a story under the headline "Dangote offers Shamenda a bribe" in which the minister claimed that a Nigerian human resources manager from the company offered him a bribe which he rejected.

"He told me that it was a tradition in their culture to give someone a token of appreciation," Shamenda was quoted as saying.

"May I take this opportunity to warn Dangote and all other investors in the country to avoid enticing government officials with bribes -- it hinders progress."

Dangote Industries is setting up a multimillion dollar cement plant in Ndola, about 360 kilometres north of the capital Lusaka.