The High Court sitting in Blantyre has rebuffed Transglobe Export Produce Limited Director Rashid Tayub and his firm’s claims for compensation.
Tayub in 2018 dragged the Attorney General (AG) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to court seeking damages for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, while Transglobe Produce Export Limited was seeking damages for loss of business and damage to reputation.
The two also claimed costs of the action from the defendants.
This was after Tayub was arrested in July 2017and kept in custody at Blantyre Police Station for one day on suspicion that he took part in a transaction that involved the importation of maize from Zambia to Malawi involving Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
Tayub had told the court that the investigations by ACB were unjustified, malicious and in bad faith because he and Transglobe did not have any dealings with Admarc and the government of Malawi.
He argued that he had a deal with the Zambia Cooperative Federation, which he sold maize to.
According to Tayub, the bad publicity that the case brought resulted in him losing business with AHL Commodities Limited. He also submitted that they spent lots of money to clean up their image.
In court, Tayub also produced two letters from FDH Bank dated March 24 2017 and National Bank Limited dated March 27 2017 in which the two banks indicated that they had stopped dealing with him and his firm.
In defence, the AG and the ACB disputed the claim on the basis that the decision to prosecute was reasonable based on probable cause, notwithstanding the fact that Tayub was acquitted by a subordinate court.
The AG and ACB further argued that the facts in the matter revealed that a crime might have been committed, hence the decision to prosecute.
In his ruling on Monday, High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise found that, contrary to submissions by the claimants, the ACB had reasonable and probable cause to arrest and prosecute Tayub, the acquittal notwithstanding.
Consequently, the AG and the ACB could not be held liable for taking what was a legally justifiable action in the circumstances of the case, he ruled.
Madise also ordered Tayub and Transglobe to pay the costs of the action.
ACB spokesperson Egritta Ndala said in a statement that, by successfully defending the case, the two authorities prevented the loss of taxpayers’ money through the claims for compensation.