/ 21 June 2010

Innocent and never been charged

The Mail & Guardian published an article on May 28 2010 titled, “Aurora: The Ekon connection“.

I was not asked in advance of publication to respond to the comments and allegations contained in the article. In fact, I have never been requested or been able to reply to any article the M&G has written. As a result, the articles about me mostly represent a material departure from the facts.

Despite my protestations, these misrepresentations were never corrected and the article of May 28 again contains some of these unfounded allegations and misrepresentations. I have now been afforded an opportunity to reply.

I deny that I am or ever was a “collaborator” with Aurora Empowerment Systems. I have no knowledge about the bid or the subject matter of the bid or the assets that were purchased. The only knowledge about Aurora’s Malaysian backers pulling out of the deal I have is what I have read in the M&G. I am not a shareholder, investor or a director of Aurora. Why use such a negative word as collaborator except to sensationalise?

I deny that I ever boasted to anyone about my friendship with the South African president, Jacob Zuma, or how often we meet.

I had been living in London for almost two years before any articles were published by M&G about me. Therefore I emphatically deny that my move to the United Kingdom coincided with the M&G‘s article about a gold-smuggling syndicate. I visit South Africa regularly, which I would not have done if the reason for my move to London was to escape any criminal investigation or to avoid criminal charges against me.

I have established that the gold and diamond branch of the SAPS investigated several cases of gold-smuggling during the 1990s. Following their intense investigations, which included several high-level delegations overseas, no evidence was ever found on me and I was never questioned or charged. The investigating officer asserted after our request that, if there was any evidence against me, they would have found it.

The attorney general of the Transvaal at the time also confirmed in writing that I was not even being investigated and there were no charges against me.

I deny unequivocally being involved in any such syndicate. I was never charged, arrested or even questioned, yet the M&G represents my involvement as a fact and continues to regurgitate these unfounded allegations. This sensationalist reporting about me has continued for 14 years without any thought for me or my family. I have been excluded from many deals and my family slandered without any charges being brought against me for anything. My children are of school-going age and this is very difficult for them to bear.

Sam Sole reports in his last article “no charges were ever proven”. How could they be if none was ever brought? This is beyond any case where one is innocent until proved guilty. None of the cases I was allegedly involved with has been reported on for more than 12 years yet I am constantly being associated with them without any factual basis.