Journalist Ranjeni Munusamy placed on special leave after slush fund allegations made at Zondo commission

2019-09-18 13:38
Chairperson of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alon Skuy/Gallo)

Chairperson of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alon Skuy/Gallo)

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Tiso Blackstar Group says that one of its senior journalists has been placed on special leave after allegations regarding a secret slush fund of Crime Intelligence, which is a division of the South African Police Service, were levelled against her at the Zondo state capture commission. 

This was revealed by Hawks officer Colonel Kobus Roelofse on Wednesday. He said the alleged payments made to Ranjeni Munusamy were discovered while investigating claims of corruption between crime intelligence officers and Atlantis Motors, which is based in Centurion.

"We were able to uncover an amount of R143 621 78. It was paid from the Atlantis Motors business account to Wesbank vehicle finance account in the settlement agreement of the vehicle in the name of Ms Ranjeni Munusamy. As far as I know, she is a journalist," he said. 

The amount was debited on July 30, 2008. 

Zondo said the commission would return to the matter at a later stage, as Munusamy's name was spelt differently from the bank account compared to Roelofse's affidavit.  

Evidence

Zondo asked Roelofse to take a look at the name and confirm it before returning to the evidence. 

In a statement released by Tiso Blackstar Group on Wednesday, the media house said that Munusamy had not been employed by any of its titles or companies during the period covered by these allegations. Munusamy joined Tiso Blackstar in 2017 after leaving Daily Maverick.

"The company was unaware of any investigation involving Munusamy. At the time she was engaged as an independent contractor."

It said it noted the allegations and was conducting an internal investigation.

"We adhere to the doctrine of presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the principles of natural justice that include hearing both sides of the story. However, we have granted her special leave considering the gravity of these allegations. The editor of the Sunday Times, Bongani Siqoko, commenced with internal investigations on Wednesday as soon as the commission notified Munusamy of these allegations.

"The company will make a final decision on this matter following the conclusion of its own internal investigations, taking into consideration the company’s interests, its policies and Munusamy’s rights," the statement read. 

Munusamy told News24 she will defend herself against the allegations.

"I deny the allegations made against me at the Zondo Commission today. They are baseless. I am working with my lawyers to draft a response to the allegations for the Commission, with whom I am cooperating fully," she said. 

Read more on:    tiso blackstar  |  state capture  |  corruption  |  media
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