Johannesburg - A prosecutor is a step closer to being paid R1.8 million by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) after he was wrongfully arrested, charged and prosecuted for fraud and defeating or obstructing the administration of justice.
Sijoyi Robert Ndlhovu, 49, a regional court prosecutor, hauled the NPA before the Mpumalanga High Court in Mbombela after he was arrested in October 2016 in the presence of his colleagues and other personnel.
He was charged and later granted bail but ultimately he was found not guilty and discharged.
Ndlhovu took issue with his arrest and filed a lawsuit against the NPA in 2018.
The NPA charged Ndlhovu after he withdrew serious charges of armed robbery, a firearm and attempted murder in June 2015 and informed the investigating officer that the matter was not trial ready because the chain of evidence was broken.
The investigating officer claimed there was an alleged agreement between himself and Ndlhovu and considered the withdrawal of the charges to be in breach of the agreement and then laid a complaint against the prosecutor.
Then Mpumalanga deputy director of prosecutions advocate Elaine Moonsamy agreed that there appeared to be a prima facie case against Ndhlovu on two counts of fraud, alternatively defeating or obstructing the administration of justice.
She ultimately took the final decision and in September 2016 gave the instruction for Ndhlovu to be criminally charged for fraud and defeating or obstructing the administration of justice.
In his R1.8m claim for malicious prosecution, Ndhlovu demanded R250 000 for future loss of income, R550 000 for loss of promotion and/or advancement prospects and another R1m for contemelia (insult), damaging his good name, reputation, publication in the media and emotional trauma suffered as a result of the unlawful prosecution.
On Tuesday, Acting Judge Pieter Sieberhagen ordered National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi to pay Ndhlovu any amount as he might be able to prove as compensation for damages to his person and dignitas (dignity) caused by the NPA’s malicious prosecution.
He ordered Batohi to pay Ndhlovu’s legal costs.
”I find that the plaintiff (Ndhlovu) proved on a balance of probabilities that advocate Moonsamy acted with animus iniuriandi (intent to injure), and that the defendant (Batohi) failed to prove the defence raised in the pleadings,” Judge Sieberhagen found.
He said Moonsamy was carried away by her sense of duty as influenced by a general adoption of the pre-supposition that corruption and fraud should be stamped out in Mpumalanga.
In her motivation for Ndhlovu to be prosecuted, Moonsamy said there was evidence that has the hallmark of corrupt tendencies.
”We have heard at the recent provincial efficiency enhancement committee meeting with Judge President Dunstan Mlambo that there are huge concerns relating to corruption on the part of prosecutors in Mpumalanga.
“It is incumbent that we send out a message that the NPA has a zero tolerance approach to corruption,” she said.
NPA spokesperson in Mpumalanga Monica Nyuswa told Independent Media that they only received the judgment yesterday.
”Our attorneys are still studying it and we will only be in a position to comment once the attorneys are done studying the judgment,” she said.