Mac Maharaj denies corruptions claims

2011-11-22 13:25

Mac Maharaj interviewed on eNews

2011-11-21 08:03

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj refused to confirm or deny in an eNews interview that he lied to the Scorpions in 2001. Watch the interview here. WATCH

Pretoria - Presidency spokesperson Mac 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 newspaper by preventing it from publishing allegations against him.

He countered he had evidence that the Mail&Guardian had committed a criminal offence.

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

Maharaj’s attorneys laid a charge against the Mail&Guardian and two of its journalists - Sam Sole and Stefans Brummer - on Saturday for 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.

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 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".

The Sunday Times has since reported 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.

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