Billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe has filed a lawsuit against a Botswana newspaper, Sunday Standard, over claims that he smuggled R22m to influence succession politics in the country. Motsepe – founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals – is demanding 5m pula (R6.7m) in damages for injury to his reputation, says a report on the IoL site.

The lawsuit comes after the newspaper published an article headlined ‘New Jerusalem Vic Falls secret meeting scuttled’.

In it, the paper claimed the Mamelodi Sundowns owner and his sister, businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe, donated R22m to Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s campaign ahead of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s elective conference held last month.

Venson-Moitoi is former President Ian Khama's ally who was challenging Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party's presidency.

Part of the article read: ‘By Friday, a team of Botswana Police Service officers were investigating a number of security companies which are allegedly being used to smuggle campaign money into the country. This followed unconfirmed reports that SA mining tycoon Patrice Motsepe, who is also brother to Bridgette, had donated R22m to Venson-Moitoi’s campaign, which had already been smuggled into Botswana.’

According to court papers, Motsepe is of the view that the statement is defamatory and could imply that he acts illegally and is a dishonest businessman.

In addition to the money, Motsepe is demanding that the newspaper publish, within five days from date of the court order, an apology on its front page and website. He also wants the newspaper to pay the legal costs.

The case is before Lobatse High Court Justice Tshepo Motswagole.

Full report on the IoL site