280910 Gijima Chairman Robert Gumede at the company annual results held in Sandton sun North of Johannesburg.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Independent Newspapers said on Wednesday that it rejected threats of legal action by businessman Robert Gumede.

Gumede's lawyers sent a letter to Independent Newspapers last week saying that he intended to sue the company for R1-billion over an article published in the Sunday Independent on March 2, 2014.

The article by Mogomotsi Magome, “ANC funder probed”, alleged that a multi-million rand contract awarded to Gumede's company Gijima was the subject of a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe authorised by President Jacob Zuma.

In the letter to Independent Newspapers, Gumede said the article was defamatory and sensational and caused “serious commercial and reputational damage”.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sunday Independent deputy editor Japhet Ncube said: “I stand by the story and by my reporter Mogomotsi, who was thorough and meticulous in researching and sourcing the story, and was equally careful in his writing.

“I consider it our duty to bring to the public's attention details of an SIU probe of a major government tender.

“We will fulfill that duty without fear or favour, regardless of who is involved.” - IOL

Read the full statement here.