South Africa: 'My Vehicle Was Settled By Close Family Friend,' Says Munusamy, Who Intends to Cross-Examine Witnesses At Zondo Commission

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

Sunday Times associate editor Ranjeni Munusamy has made submissions at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, arguing allegations made against her are an attempt to destroy her credibility.

In her supporting affidavit to the commission, which News24 has seen, Munusamy said she was "utterly horrified by the allegations that I have been paid from the [Secret Service Account]. These allegations are entirely baseless and false".

Senior Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roloefse previously revealed to the inquiry that while investigating claims of corruption between crime intelligence officers and Atlantis Motors, based in Centurion, he was able to uncover an amount of R143 621.78.

The amount was paid from the Atlantis Motors business account to a Wesbank vehicle finance account in the settlement agreement of the vehicle in Munusamy's name.

The amount was debited on July 30, 2008. He alleged the money came from an account within the Atlantis Motors account.

On Monday, whistleblower Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo told the inquiry several journalists, including Munusamy, were paid by crime intelligence.

But Munusamy said: "I state unequivocally, I have never been in the pay of crime intelligence, whether as a journalist or otherwise. The suggestion that I have is preposterous. It has caused me significant distress and anguish.

"My view is that this is an attempt to destroy my credibility to ensure that I will not be taken seriously as a journalist with professionalism, independence and integrity."

She said she had no idea why she was being "targeted".

Munusamy added allegations made by Roelofse were serious and had the potential of destroying her reputation as a journalist.

"From the outset, I wish to make it clear that I deny having been involved in any act of corruption, bribery, fraud or money laundering. I deny that I wrongfully benefitted from state funds as part of an unlawful scheme.

"I had no knowledge of how it came about that details of a personal transaction of mine were on the books of Atlantis Motors."

Munusamy also explained in her affidavit her vehicle was settled by a close family friend, Basheer Ahmed Abdool.

"Moreover, at the time of the payments referred to in Mr Roelofse's statement, I was not even working as a journalist.

"The entire narrative is not only bizarre but the conclusion it reaches, that I am corrupt or committed any wrongdoing, is false."

She said in his testimony, Roelofse did not state or provide any evidence of what she had done or was expected to do in exchange for payment from the Secret Service Account.

Munusamy added she had purchased her BMW through Wesbank in 2003. In 2007, she purchased a townhouse in Johannesburg, however, given the financial pressure of servicing her new bond for her townhouse, her accountant advised her to settle the outstanding loan on her vehicle.

She said in May 2008, Abdool, who was at the time in business as a "successful" fruit and vegetable wholesaler, offered to settle her account.

"At his request, I provided him with the account details for my Wesbank vehicle repayments.

"Basheer later informed me that he had paid the outstanding amount of my Wesbank loan and in due course I received a statement reflecting the final settlement amount of R143 621.78.

"Apart from thanking him profusely for assisting me with my financial predicament, Basheer [Abdool] and I did not discuss the payment again, until I received the commission's notice."

She said when she revisited the settlement amount with him last week, he confirmed he paid the settlement.

"During that period, he was shopping around for another vehicle. He identified a pre-owned Nissan Hardbody at Atlantis Nissan in Centurion. He paid an amount of approximately R150 000 in cash and was scheduled to collect the Nissan on May 9, 2008."

Munusamy said in light of her "financial predicament", Abdool contacted the dealership to cancel the sale of the Nissan Hardbody.

She added he was told he could not get his cash back but that the dealership could transfer the funds into his account. "Instead, he asked the dealership to transfer the outstanding amount for the balloon payment into my Wesbank vehicle finance account."

Munusamy intends to cross-examine both Roelofse and Naidoo.

Source: News24

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