South Africa: Zondo Commission - Police Whistleblower Details How Journalists, Including Ranjeni Munusamy, Were Allegedly Paid By Crime Intelligence Officers

Ranjeni Munusamy, Associate Editor at Tiso BlackStar, being interviewed on CNBC Africa's Power Lunch show in 2018.
30 September 2019

Police whistleblower Dhanajaya Naidoo has told the Zondo commission that several journalists, including Sunday Times associate editor Ranjeni Munusamy, were paid by Crime Intelligence.

"My belief that journalists were being used by crime intelligence to plant stories in the media, I have knowledge of three instances were journalists were paid or used by crime intelligence," Naidoo told the inquiry into state capture on Monday as it delves into alleged looting within the police's intelligence unit.

Of those three instances, Naidoo went into detail about how Crime Intelligence took care of Munusamy's silver BMW convertible in 2008.

"In 2008, I was called by [Mulangi] Mphego. He said he has a contact named 'Jenni', she is having problems with her vehicle and I must make contact with her. I can confirm that I met her on two or three occasions," he explained to the commisssion.

Naidoo said that he met with Munusamy for the first time at an Engen Garage near her home, where she handed over the keys to her vehicle.

"She knew who I was. Commissioner Mphego sent me. She handed me the keys and I took the car to New World Motors under the instruction of General [Solly] Lazarus (former Crime Intelligence chief financial officer).

"The new tyres were replaced, the car was serviced, the radio was faulty and one of the seats in the car needed attention," he said.

The vehicle was subsequently returned to Munusamy by Naidoo, but he then received another call from Mphego regarding the vehicle.

"It was probably a week or two later when I got a call from Mphego and inquired why we did not put run flat tyres on the vehicle., I arranged to pick the vehicle back up again took it to New World Motors - had those tyres fitted on and took it back to her," he told the commission.

Naidoo did not say what, if anything, was expected from Munusamy in return for the alleged assistance.

Munusamy made headlines after senior Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roloefse previously revealed to the inquiry that the Hawks were able to uncover an amount of R143 621 78 - paid from the Atlantis Motors business account to a Wesbank vehicle finance account in the settlement agreement of the vehicle in the name of Munusamy - during an investigation into the alleged looting of the secret service account within Crime Intelligence, News24 reported.

Munusamy intends to defend herself against the allegations, News24 reported.

"I deny the allegations made against me at the Zondo commission today. They are baseless. I am working with my lawyers to draft a response to the allegations for the commission, with whom I am cooperating fully," she previously said.

Naidoo detailed two other instances where journalists - who were not named - were paid R25 000 to make a story "detrimental to intelligence" disappear and where another journalist - who also wasn't named - was paid by an unknown figure under the alleged instruction of Lazarus.

The inquiry continues.

Source: News24

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