NPA gets M&G's request to publish

2011-11-23 16:18

Pretoria - The National Prosecuting Authority has received a request from the Mail & Guardian to publish information said to prove that presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj lied in an inquiry.

"The National Director of Public Prosecutions [Menzi Simelane] received correspondence from the attorneys representing Mail & Guardian," NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said on Wednesday.

"The letter relates to the matter reported in the media recently involving Mr Mac Maharaj," he said.

The newspaper had planned to publish the information in last Friday's edition.

Instead, its front page 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.

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

He said that 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, which was 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.

Mthunzi said on Wednesday that Simelane would "consider the contents of the correspondence and take an appropriate decision which will be communicated to their attorneys".

Maharaj has filed criminal charges with the police against the newspaper for violating the act and on Tuesday afternoon police confirmed that the matter had been handed to the Hawks.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  menzi simelane
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