Mac’s court file ‘secrets’

2011-12-11 08:35

This is the file that contains the testimony of Mac and Zarina Maharaj to Scorpions investigators and which they are determined to keep secret.

The file, which has been gathering dust in the archives of the North Gauteng High Court, reveals that Maharaj himself placed the 2003 transcripts in the public domain when he ­submitted them in support of his 2006 court action that sought to challenge the constitutionality of their interrogation under section 28 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act. It is a criminal offence to reveal the “record of evidence” given during a section 28 interrogation.

But file 34526/06 – Sathandranath ­Ragunanan Maharaj versus The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development – is readily accessible at the court to those who know where to look.

The file contains the full transcript of his and Zarina’s evidence to investigators as part of their litigation, as well as sensitive correspondence between the investigators and the couple.

The transcripts’ placement in a publicly­accessible court file further challenges the claims by Maharaj that they remain ­confidential.

Media24 Investigations has officially asked for permission to publish the transcripts from national director of public prosecutions Menzi Simelane. It is argued they can no longer be regarded as confidential and that there is a compelling public interest for their disclosure as the transcripts appear to show that an individual who holds important public office may have broken the law by lying to investigators.

Maharaj’s attorney, Rudi Krause, said: “That fact that the documents have been made available for the purposes of litigation does not mean that they are not subject to the strictures of (the NPA Act)?.?.?. The fact that it becomes a public document when it was attached to court papers does not mean that section 41 (6) ­(preventing disclosure) is no longer relevant.”

Krause said Maharaj was “not at all” guilty of a crime in terms of section 41 (6), despite showing his biographer, Padraig O’Malley, a copy of the transcripts.

“It is completely laughable to suggest that he’s made himself guilty of a crime.”

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