News24

Hawks to investigate Mail & Guardian

2011-11-22 21:06

Pretoria - Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj's criminal charges against the Mail & Guardian newspaper are to be investigated by the Hawks, police said on Tuesday.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that the case, which was opened against the newspaper by Maharaj's lawyers at Park View police station, had been transferred to the Hawks.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela could not immediately be reached for comment, but Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes labelled the decision to get the Hawks to investigate as "an abuse of state resources to go after our sources".

Maharaj has accused the newspaper and two of its journalists - Sam Sole and Stefans Brummer - of violating section 41(6) of the National Prosecuting Act of 1988.

The charges relate to Friday's edition of the newspaper, the front page of which featured a picture of Maharaj alongside the words: "Censored. We cannot bring you this story in full due to a threat of criminal prosecution."

Big black blocks were printed over about three quarters of the page, where the story would have been published.

Impression of wrong-doing

Maharaj said that the decision by the newspaper to black out parts of its report had created the impression that he had done something wrong.

He said the act made it an offence to disclose evidence gathered in camera by a section 28 inquiry.

According to the newspaper, Maharaj had lied to the section 28 inquiry called by the now disbanded Scorpions over allegations that he received kickbacks from French arms manufacturer Thales International.

It was this information, allegedly proving that Maharaj had lied, that the newspaper wanted to publish.

Maharaj has denied ever being involved in corruption and bribery.

He told the National Press Club in Pretoria on Tuesday that he had never broken any law.

"I have not been involved in corruption, bribery or broken any law."

Maharaj was reacting to criticism that he had in effect censored the Mail & Guardian by preventing it from publishing allegations against him.

He countered he had evidence that the newspaper had committed a criminal offence.

Court

"I went and did what the law says. I laid a charge."

Maharaj said on Tuesday that the newspaper should have approached the director of public prosecutions before approaching him or publishing its story.

He said his refusal to answer questions was a consequence of his belief that a court of law should decide whether there was any wrongdoing.

He said he was not prepared to subject himself to "trial by media".

Dawes said he "found it extraordinary" that state resources were "being used by a politician on a fishing expedition".

"He wants to know who gave us the document and what we know," said Dawes, adding that the Hawks could be better utilised fighting crime.

Letter

Dawes said a letter had been e-mailed and faxed to National Director of Public Prosecutions Menzi Simelane on Tuesday regarding the use of information allegedly implicating Maharaj in illegal kickbacks.

He said a hard copy of the letter would be physically handed over on Wednesday.

National prosecuting authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said by lunchtime on Tuesday he was not aware that the letter had been received by the NPA and was as a result not prepared to comment.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Maharaj and his wife Zarina received millions of rands in kickbacks related to the arms deal.

Maharaj said the newspaper published 800 words, but only one sentence of his three-sentence response to its questions.

Comments
  • Sylvia - 2011-11-22 21:43

    And so it begins. ;(

      Fredster69 - 2011-11-23 07:38

      At the end of the day, You can get a bill to protect you, and you can get lawyers to defend you, but you will still be a thief...and everywhere you go, and when ever you speak to people, they will know what you are... and alos, what a good way to teach your children...

  • Hartmut - 2011-11-22 21:46

    So why bothering about the new law???

  • Sam - 2011-11-22 21:49

    so vroeg...? The bill hasn't passed yet

  • sefeddt - 2011-11-22 21:57

    This is not a new law, they are being prosecuted under section 41(6) of the National Prosecuting Act of 1988. Still if Maharaj had nothing to hide why act so defensive.

  • Rudi de Beer - 2011-11-22 21:59

    I can see the hawks becoming the anc's gestapo if this bill is passed.

      Vic - 2011-11-22 22:13

      Yebo

  • Mark - 2011-11-22 22:09

    For the Hawks to investigate the Mail and Guardian is unbelievable. Does the ANC have no friends left, then?

  • renesongs - 2011-11-22 22:12

    Thieves run when no one pursues

  • Ryan - 2011-11-22 22:13

    Maharaj wants to know who gave the Mail and Guardian their evidence and what they know. sounds to me like the behavior of someone whos guilty as sin ! what party does he belong to ? he's the spokesperson for which president ?? yup, guilty as sin

      Sam - 2011-11-22 22:18

      They asked him a question, his answer is who gave you that info. The question is a simple true or false question

  • Donder - 2011-11-22 23:13

    omw! what next? catch a guy breaking into your neighbours house and you get investigated for trespassing???? our cops must be the dumbest on earth! if anything, i would thank the media for doing most of their investigative work, something they have no clue on how to do

  • Robert - 2011-11-22 23:15

    How quick can the hawks mobilise from other investigations to prioritise this crooken agenda. They will come to you if they are honest. Is it about the docs or you lying.

  • antoinette.jordaan - 2011-11-22 23:20

    *sigh*

  • Alva - 2011-11-22 23:25

    This is ass about face. Surely it's Maharaj the hawks should be investigating, not M&G!

      Fred - 2011-11-23 05:01

      Absolutely.

  • Simon - 2011-11-23 06:57

    don't worry guys , enjoy the news , one of these days we wont have any news any more as all reporters would be silenced .sssssssshhhhhhhhhttttttt

  • Fredster69 - 2011-11-23 07:34

    What can be so difficult? They have proof that he lied, and there is a paper trail...so charge him!!!

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-11-23 08:04

    Wasting energy, resources, time and money where it shouldn't be. Scorpions were better than these hawks who turn blind eye to corrupt officials and go for harmless journos.

  • Neil - 2011-11-23 08:04

    Man, that's just absolutely ridiculous.

  • Nigel - 2011-11-23 08:21

    how about investigating Malema, you are quick to investigate a newspaper, but how long is it going to take for you do go after the ones stealing the country blind & making the poor poorer.

  • Bongani - 2011-11-23 08:22

    Dawes, i think you need to go back to school. Accusing some of wrong doing is also crime. Mail and guardian never back down if they have a story, why this time? they were just trying to fight the info bill by creating stories and they failed. Good

  • Hennie - 2011-11-23 08:40

    Joost also denied any wrong doing until he could see the video evidence.Maharaj you are going down.

  • Never-apologize - 2011-11-23 10:56

    Most of you here, you conviniently digressing from the issue to suit your ill conceived idea about the govt and the ruling party. fact is Dawes, his cronies and the M&G have broken the LAW, so why should they be treated differently? if they have a CASE to answer lets give them the space to prove their innocence, unlike what the media always do, "you are guilty until you prove your innocence" the State says "you are Innocent until you are proven otherwise". So, Dawes you have made a Booboo on this one, and you know it.

  • Claudine Fourie-Grosvenor - 2013-09-15 15:30

    YIP - THEN WHY HAVE YOU CRIMINALS NOT PAID MY INTERIM AND INITIAL LAND AND PROPERTIES CLAIMS OF SINCE 1990 YET TOO - I ASK, YET YOU ARE ALL NOW SUDDENLY MULTI- MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES, WHEN WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WORK ANY OF YOU HAVE DONE/ DO, APART FROM THE POWER ABUSING POSITIONS AND OVER- PAID PRIVILEGES AND REMUNERATIONS WHOM I DO NOT KNOW WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HAVING MIS- CALCULATED THEM TOO AS THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT ACCORDING TO MERIT, CONSIDERING THAT WE STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT GOOD WORK ANY OF YOU DID PREVIOUSLY AND SUDDENLY NOW THERE ARE ALL THESE BRITISH INSTITUTIONAL EDUCATION OF FURTHER CRIMINALITY AND ABUSES AGAINST US,...

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