Ranjeni Munusamy on special leave after claims that she benefitted from slush fund
CAPE TOWN – JSE-listed Tiso Blackstar Group said on Wednesday that one of its employees, columnist and associate editor Ranjeni Munusamy, had been placed on special leave following allegations at the Zondo Commission that she had received money from a police crime intelligence slush fund.
Testifying at the commission, Hawks officer Colonel Kobus Roelofse said: “We were able to uncover an amount of R143 621,78. It was paid from Atlantis Motor business account to a Westbank vehicle finance account, in the name of Ms Ranjeni Munusamy.”
It was debited in July 2008, he said.
In response to these revelations, The Tiso Blackstar Group, where Munusamy is currently employed, released a statement which read: “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.”
Other media reports suggest that the editor of the Sunday Times, Bongani Siqoko, commenced with internal investigations on Wednesday as soon as the commission notified Munusamy of these allegations.
Further reports from Timeslive which is owned by Tiso said the company also notes that Munusamy was not engaged by Tiso Blackstar Group or any of its titles or/and companies during the period covered by these allegations, and the company was unaware of any investigation involving Munusamy at the time she was engaged as an Independent contractor.
“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.”
Meanwhile,the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said they are not surprised by the revelations that Munusamy’s car was paid by the secret slush fund of Crime Intelligance.
In their statement, the EFF stated that it has always indicated that there are journalists who are working with politicians through the Rogue Unit and Secret Intelligence operations to pursue political opponents of Pravin Gordhan.
The party alleges that many will be revealed who are on a payroll of State Security and other secret intelligence organisations.
“The EFF decision to stop interacting with media units like amaBhungane and Scorpio, as well as the Daily Maverick, is because we know these units work with illegal operatives linked largely with the Rogue Unit. This is particularly signifified by the type of information they have to write against their subjects. Such information can only be accessed through usage of highly specialised intelligence equipment and devices,” read the statement.
Hawks officer Colonel Kobus Roelofse alleged that payments made to Munusamy – R143 621.78 to pay for a car loan in July, 2008 – were discovered while claims of corruption between crime intelligence officers and Atlantis Motors, which is based in Centurion, were investigated, News24 reported.