Businessman gets R500K for false arrests

The office of the Minister of Police has again capitulated in what was a three-pronged legal attack by a Durban businessman, who was harassed and thrown into jail several times because of a"civil dispute" he had with racehorse owner Roy Moodley.

Earlier this year, the minister conceded liability for the actions of Durban North cluster commander Reuben Govender - allegedly acting at the behest of Moodley - for two of Vinesh Juglall's claims for damages.

Last week, when the third incident was to be ventilated in a trial in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, the matter again settled with an order that Juglall be paid R500 000 in compensation for all of his claims and that the minister pay his legal costs.

READ: Businessman wins case against police after being jailed by cop on Roy Moodley's instructions

Juglall sued both the minister and Govender, but the order taken by consent was only against the minister.

In his court papers, Juglall said he had been involved in a business deal with Moodley over the proposed R12m sale of a property in Durban's city centre.

The deal also involved an option to purchase the shares in the Durban Computer College and DCC Campus Computer FET Institution.

When the deal soured, Moodley summoned Juglall to a meeting at an attorney's office in March 2012, ostensibly to resolve the dispute.

But when Juglall arrived there, Moodley was absent and he was arrested by Govender on a charge of fraud, alternatively theft, without a warrant.

He was detained at the Phoenix police station until the following morning.

'Pay up or stay jailed'

He said Govender told him that he would stay behind bars until he settled the matter or paid back the R12m.

He was only released after his attorney brought an urgent application in the High Court in Durban.

Juglall also obtained an interdict against Govender, preventing any further intimidation or harassment.

Juglall's attorney Zane Haneef, then made representations to the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, asking for a determination of whether or not there was any merit in the allegations of criminal conduct which justified his arrest.

While this investigation was being done - and notwithstanding an agreement that, should there be any need to arrest Juglall it would be done by arrangement - Govender arrested him again without a warrant.

He was detained at the Phoenix police station and only released after another urgent High Court application.

The third claim - which settled last week - involved Juglall's arrest in February 2013.

It was alleged that Govender, or other police officers "acted maliciously" by taking the docket to a prosecutor to sign off on a warrant for the same charges without informing her about the history of the matter and that it was still being investigated by the NDPP's office. The criminal charges were later withdrawn.

READ MORE: Police go after News24 journalist and Jacques Pauw

News24 has previously exposed an alleged "chummy relationship" between Moodley and the senior police officer.

This was after it was revealed that Govender had sought and obtained a warrant of arrest against journalists and authors Jacques Pauw and Pieter-Louis Myburgh.

The complainant was Roy Moodley, who had been named in their books as being one of former president Jacob Zuma's benefactors.

The warrant was later cancelled after the intervention of senior police officer Brigadier Andre Holby. He also laid a criminal charge against Govender.

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said there were currently three cases under investigation against Govender.

"Two of them are complete. Once all three are completed, we will refer them to the NPA for a decision."

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