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An urgent investigation is needed into an allegation that the police's Crime Intelligence (CI) division paid journalists to write a report discrediting other officers, the National Press Club said on Thursday.
The allegation emerged in an official document compiled by Colonel Kobus Roelofse of the SAPS anti-corruption task team and lodged in court papers by Freedom Under Law (FUL) on Tuesday.
FUL, represented by former World Bank director Dr Mamphela Ramphele, asked the High Court in Johannesburg to interdict former crime intelligence head Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli from performing any policing duties.
It also wants the decision to withdraw murder and fraud charges against him to be reviewed.
National Press Club chairman Yusuf Abramjee said allegations that journalists were paid was “very worrying” and “very serious”.
“Authorities need to get to the bottom of them as a matter of urgency. We need to get the facts and if there were any payments made, as alleged, criminal charges should follow.
“We also call on media houses suspected of being involved to launch their own investigations,” said Abramjee.
The Roelofse report said the investigating team was informed of the article in October last year by a witness. The witness told investigators he overheard Major General Solly Lazarus, CI finance head, say a newspaper article was to be written by journalists paid by CI.
The article would “take the focus away from them” and cast suspicion on those they perceived to be a threat.
It continues: “This newspaper article was published in the Sunday Times on 23 October 2011.”
Mdluli made representations to the National Prosecuting Authority earlier that month and used the article to cast suspicion on Hawks boss Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat and the investigating team.
He claimed there was a conspiracy to oust him. - Sapa