Oilgate: Police probe the Mail & Guardian

The Mail & Guardian is being investigated by police national headquarters in an apparent bid to out the newspaper’s sources of information that Oilgate company Imvume Management diverted R11-million in public funds to the African National Congress.

Signs that the investigation enjoys top priority include:

  • It is being conducted by the commercial branch head office at police headquarters in Pretoria, a specialised crime fighting unit.

  • A police intelligence front company is assisting in the investigation. The front company is a leftover from the apartheid state’s dirty tricks arsenal.

  • Police this week took the highly controversial step of serving a Section 205 subpoena on MWeb, hosts of M&G Online. This appears to undermine earlier agreements between prosecuting authorities and the South African National Editors’ Forum.

M&G editor Ferial Haffajee said on Thursday: “This smacks of an abuse of state resources to shoot the messenger, while the guilty parties in the M&G’s Oilgate exposÃ

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Stefaans Brümmer

Stefaans Brümmer

Stefaans is an old hand at investigations. A politics and journalism graduate, he cut his reporting teeth at the Cape Argus in the tumultuous early 1990s; then joined the Mail & Guardian as democracy dawned in April 1994. For the next 16 years (a late-1990s diversion into television and freelancing apart), the M&G was his journalistic home and launch pad for award-winning investigations focusing on the nexus between politics and money. Stefaans has co-authored exposés including Oilgate, the Selebi affair, Chancellor House and significant breaks in the arms deal scandal. Stefaans and Sam Sole co-founded amaBhungane in 2010. He divides his time between the demands of media bureaucracy (which he detests), coaching members of the amaBhungane team, and his first love, digging for dung.
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