Zimbabwean Millionaire Frank Buyanga Threatens To Sue SAPS After Being Fingered In Failed Prison Break Attempt
Frank Buyanga, the Zimbabwean millionaire businessman who has been languishing in a South African prison since November last year over a slew of accusations, including child custody wrangles with his former girlfriend, has denied any involvement in a recent failed prison break attempt at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria, South Africa.
On April 16th, the South African Police Services (SAPS) published a statement suggesting that Buyanga could have been involved in the escape plan. However, through his lawyers, Buyanga has written a letter to SAPS demanding an apology and a retraction of the statement, as he claims it was “marred with misrepresentations and malice clearly aimed at tarnishing his reputation.”
Zimlive reports that Buyanga’s lawyers argue that their client was not interviewed by SAPS, and therefore the statement is “reckless and premature behavior” on the part of the police force. They further state that Buyanga was present at the legal consulting rooms of the prison with his legal representative, Michael Hulley, at the time of the alleged incident and could have been questioned over the matter.
SAPS statement tarnished Buyanga’s reputation
Buyanga’s lawyers have stated that the SAPS statement has tarnished his reputation and led to a smear campaign against him in the media. They argue that the media is basing its opinions on one side of the story and that their client has not been approached by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and SAPS officials but has been vilified through the media.
Buyanga’s lawyers further state that their client is now at the mercy of a smear campaign by the media, which is “failing to provide the public with the proper factual story and does not give a balanced account of the alleged cases that they are very well aware of that were opened against Mr. Buyanga.”
Buyanga accuses Zimbabwean authorities of working with SAPS
Buyanga also accuses Zimbabwean authorities of working in cahoots with SAPS and the South African National Prosecuting Authority to unfairly extradite him and deny him bail on trumped-up immigration charges. He claims that he is being treated as a foreigner when, in actual fact, he holds South African particulars.
His lawyers have stated that Buyanga feels there is a conspiracy to jeopardize his freedom prospects, and that the investigations should also cover the incident to exclude this as a booking-out attempt as an attempt to extort him and/or create an impediment to his attempts to apply for bail, which is his lawful right.
Buyanga’s lawyers argue that SAPS failed to state that any charge that relates to fraud and contravention of the Immigration Act is alleged and that Buyanga has the presumption of innocence until the authorities can sustain these false utterances and alleged charges in a court of law.
SAPS statement could result in a lawsuit
The letter written by Buyanga’s lawyers states that SAPS’ statement falsely implicating Buyanga must be retracted on all platforms where this information has been shared, including social media. They reserve the right to sue for damages.
The letter ends by stating that “we are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that your offices retract the article and statements falsely implicating Mr. Buyanga on all platforms where this information has been shared, including social media. We reserve the right to sue for damages.”
Buyanga’s legal team is adamant that SAPS’ statement is baseless and damaging to their client’s reputation. It remains to be seen whether Buyanga will follow through with his threat to sue SAPS or whether the matter will be resolved outside of court.