Hawks, NPA face a R19m law­suit

For­mer civil ser­vant Thu­lani Sibuyi is pur­su­ing a le­gal case against po­lice head, de­spite hav­ing been ac­quit­ted on fraud charges two years ago

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

Aformer Mpumalanga civil ser­vant is out for re­venge af­ter the Hawks and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) al­legedly “ru­ined my life with base­less crim­i­nal charges”. For­mer Mpumalanga safety and se­cu­rity head Thu­lani Sibuyi has now filed a R19 mil­lion law­suit against po­lice min­is­ter Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko and NPA head Shaun Abra­hams for un­law­ful ar­rest and de­ten­tion, ma­li­cious pros­e­cu­tion and defama­tion.

The Hawks ar­rested and charged Sibuyi for ten­der fraud and con­tra­ven­tion of the Pub­lic Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act on Au­gust 8 2012, fol­low­ing the award­ing of se­cu­rity ten­ders worth R7 bil­lion for gov­ern­ment build­ings.

Sibuyi was ac­cused of award­ing a three-year ten­der, amount­ing to about R1.2 bil­lion, to GNT Se­cu­rity. The com­pany al­legedly did not have a valid tax clear­ance cer­tifi­cate.

GNT Se­cu­rity owner Vusi (Stevens) Mashaba was also ar­rested and charged. Both men were ac­quit­ted on June 19 2015 in the Nel­spruit re­gional court be­cause of lack of ev­i­dence.

By then, Sibuyi had been forced to re­sign as the head of depart­ment, even though the depart­ment it­self had not laid any charges and did not be­lieve he had done any­thing wrong.

“The depart­ment did not open a case against Sibuyi,” Mpumalanga safety and se­cu­rity spokesper­son Joseph Mabuza said this week.

“The po­lice con­ducted their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion and con­cluded that they had a case against him.”

In fact, the los­ing bid­ders tried fruit­lessly to in­ter­dict the depart­ment from award­ing the ten­ders, say­ing pro­ce­dures had been flouted and the con­tracts given to KwaZulu-Natal busi­nesses. The depart­ment won the case.

In pa­pers filed with the High Court in Pre­to­ria, Sibuyi ar­gues that the po­lice and the NPA ob­tained a war­rant of ar­rest in an “ir­reg­u­lar man­ner” be­cause they were aware that no ev­i­dence of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing ex­isted against him.

His ar­rest, Sibuyi said, was un­law­ful as it was based on a de­fec­tive and in­valid war­rant of ar­rest, which failed to re­flect the of­fences on which it was is­sued. The NPA de­cided to pros­e­cute him de­spite “the ab­sence of any ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing, thus act­ing in a man­ner that showed their reck­less­ness”.

Sibuyi is claim­ing R15 mil­lion in gen­eral dam­ages; R1.5 mil­lion for de­pri­va­tion of free­dom, trauma and stress; about R1 mil­lion for loss of in­come; R1 mil­lion for defama­tion; R452 000 for le­gal fees; and R2 250 for med­i­cal ex­penses.

Sibuyi’s at­tor­ney, Mduduzi Madon­sela, said his client could not be linked to the charges as GNT was ap­pointed by the depart­ment’s bid com­mit­tees with­out his in­ter­fer­ence.

He said af­ter the bid eval­u­a­tion and ad­ju­di­ca­tion com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tions, Sibuyi had even asked the state se­cu­rity agency to vet the se­cu­rity com­pa­nies to en­sure that they were above board. The agency found noth­ing wrong, and Sibuyi then ap­pointed the com­pa­nies rec­om­mended to him. Nh­leko and Abra­hams are de­fend­ing the case. NPA spokesper­son Lu­vuyo Mfaku said: “The state at­tor­ney has al­ready filed the nec­es­sary pa­pers in de­fence of the ac­tion. We do not com­ment on the mer­its of any mat­ter that is sub­ject to lit­i­ga­tion.” Sandile Ngidi, Nh­leko’s spokesper­son, said: “Based on the facts at our dis­posal, Mr Sibuyi’s [charg­ing] oc­curred be­cause there was a rea­son­able sus­pi­cion that led to the ar­rest of the claimant. Noth­ing at all would sug­gest mal­ice or an abuse of the law by the [po­lice]. “While the min­is­ter fully re­spects the rights of all South Africans to chal­lenge and ex­pose al­le­ga­tions of abuse by the po­lice, he nev­er­the­less will al­ways en­deav­our to stand ... with po­lice of­fi­cers who he gen­uinely be­lieves acted within the law and with­out fear or favour in the ex­e­cu­tion of their du­ties.” Sibuyi said he would ex­pose all the rea­sons be­hind his ar­rest in court. “I would like to know who this face­less complainant was. There are things I know now that influenced the de­ci­sion to pur­sue me, and I will tell the truth. I won’t say more at this stage ... [which might] jeop­ar­dise my case.” Sibuyi is an at­tor­ney by train­ing and has since gone back to le­gal prac­tice.

Thu­lani Sibuyi

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