The former head of Mpumalanga’s safety and security department, Thulani Sibuyi, is suing the police minister and the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) for more than R17.5 million after he was arrested and tried for tender fraud, but acquitted because there was no evidence against him.
Sibuyi, 40, of Nelspruit, was arrested in 2013 on the road in front of the offices of the Hawks and charged with fraud, corruption and contravening the Public Finance Management Act resulting from the awarding of a multibillion-rand three-year security services contract in 2011.
He was detained in a police cell for about six hours before he was released on R50 000 bail the same day. A Nelspruit magistrate acquitted him on the charges in June 2015.
Sibuyi claimed in papers before the high court in Pretoria that the warrant for his arrest had been obtained in an irregular manner as the police knew there was no evidence to justify his arrest or prosecution.
He alleged his prosecution had been malicious, wrongful, unlawful and reckless, as the arresting officer and prosecutor knew there were no prospects of a successful prosecution. He claimed he required ongoing psychotherapy and counselling as a result of his arrest, detention and criminal prosecution, had to spend R450 000 on legal costs and suffered a loss of income due to his forced resignation.
Sibuyi alleged his good name and reputation had been damaged as the police informed the media of his anticipated arrest, thereby wrongfully instigating the defamatory and injurious wide publication of his alleged dishonesty as a high-ranking public servant.
He claimed his wrongful arrest and prosecution had caused him emotional shock, pain and suffering, and had deprived him of his right to freedom, infringed on his right to bodily and psychological integrity and reduced his quality of life.
His attorney said in a letter, forming part of court papers, that Sibuyi had complied with all provisions of the Public Finance Management Act as far as the tender was concerned, was not a member of any of the committees that evaluated the tender and did not attempt to influence anyone.
He even went one step further and asked the State Security Agency to vet the whole process that had been followed, but he was arrested and tried despite all of the relevant documents and reports being provided to the investigating officer and prosecutor.