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

2018-02-12 16:52
Roy Moodley (Gallo Images)

Roy Moodley (Gallo Images)

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Durban - A Durban businessman, who said he was harassed and thrown into jail several times by a policeman at the behest of controversial racehorse owner Roy Moodley, has won his case against the minister of police.

Vinesh Juglall, who lives in Umhlanga, lodged his claim against the minister and Durban North cluster commander Colonel Reuben Govender in July 2014.

Last week, the matter was set down for trial in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban. But it did not proceed until last Friday, when two of his three claims were settled on the issue of liability only.

He has claimed about R1.5m in damages and legal costs, but the amount he will be paid will now be negotiated or argued at trial.

A third claim has been set down for trial in August.

Last year, News24 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 President Jacob Zuma's benefactors.

READ: Police go after News24 journalist and Jacques Pauw

After Durban senior public prosecutor Sagren Naidoo declined to authorise the warrants, Govender approached a yet to be named magistrate at Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court, who signed off on them on the basis of charges of fraud, uttering and criminal defamation.

However, at a unique court hearing, senior provincial police officer Brigadier André Holby applied for the warrants to be set aside.

This was granted by Durban Magistrate Irfaan Khallil who also ordered investigations into Govender and the unnamed magistrate.

Holby also laid a criminal charge against Govender, which has been referred to the Independent Investigative Police Directorate (IPID).

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini on Monday confirmed that an investigation was underway, but was not complete.

"No arrests have been made," he said.

Juglall, in his application in which he sued the minister and Govender, said he had been involved in a business deal with Moodley over the sale of a property in Anton Lembede Road (formerly Smith Street) in the Durban city centre to Moodley for R12m.

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

Juglall says he was summoned by Moodley to a meeting at an attorney's office, ostensibly to resolve the dispute, on March 2, 2012. When he 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 Phoenix police station until the following morning. He said Govender told him that he would stay behind bars until he settled the matter or paid back the R12m.

Eventually, he was 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, made representations to the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate and determine whether or not there was any merit in the allegations of criminal conduct which justified his client's arrest.

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

He was taken to Phoenix police station and only released after another urgent high court application.

The third claim for more than R600 000 - which has not been settled - involves a third arrest in February 2013. It is 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.

This was in spite of it being a "civil dispute", that the charges were unsubstantiated and were still subject to an ongoing investigation by the DPP.

The criminal proceedings were later withdrawn.

- We initially reported that Reuben Govender was station commander of Durban North. We have since updated this story to reflect that he is actually the cluster commander. News24 apologises for the error.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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