I contacted Ranjeni Munusamy three times, Hawks official tells state capture inquiry

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo presiding over the commission of inquiry into state capture. (Gulshan Khan, AFP, file)
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo presiding over the commission of inquiry into state capture. (Gulshan Khan, AFP, file)

Senior Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse has told the state capture commission that he contacted journalist Ranjeni Munusamy at least three times in 2014 about allegations regarding a Crime Intelligence secret slush fund.

Testifying for a third day, Roelofse said: "I did, in fact, contact Ms Munusamy. I informed her of what I found and asked her for her version and explanation. 

"I spoke to her about three times and she said she would speak to her legal representative. I didn't receive any communications from her," he said. 

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

Roelofse alleged payments made to 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. 

READ | Call to report unethical journalists after slush fund claims against Ranjeni Munusamy

Special leave

The amount was debited on July 30, 2008. 

He alleged that the money came from an account within the Atlantis motors account. 

However, he said his investigations did not establish why Munusamy received the money. 

"I do not know... I do not have any information of the contents of payments," he said.

Munusamy has since been placed on special leave.

She told News24 she would 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 co-operating fully," she said. 

In a statement released by the Tiso Blackstar Group on Wednesday, the media house said Munusamy had not been employed by any of its titles or companies during the period relating to the 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.

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