Journalist Ranjeni Munusamy has written to the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture to refute claims she was ever in the employ of the State Security Agency.
In an affidavit filed with the commission, Munusamy explains that the more than R143 000 paid to settle her car debt did not come from Crime Intelligence — but was rather a kindness from a close family friend.
Last week the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — heard senior Hawks officer Kobus Roelofse detail how he uncovered the payment from car dealership Atlantis Motors to Wesbank in order to settle Munusamy’s account. This was while Roelofse was investigating allegations of corruption between the Crime Intelligence Division of the South African Police Service and Atlantis Motors, a car dealership based in Centurion, Pretoria.
Police whistle-blower Dhanajayah Naidoo went further this week with claims he was ordered to meet Munusamy, collect her BMW 330Ci convertible and make repairs, including replacing tyres twice.
This forms part of the more serious allegation by Roelofse and Naidoo that the Crime Intelligence slush fund was used to pay journalists and also furbish the lifestyles of senior police officers.
“I am horrified by the allegation. It is false. As appears more fully below, the payment referred to in mr Roelofse’s evidence — made 11 years ago and incidentally when I was not (sic) a journalist — is entirely innocuous,” writes Munusamy.
She explained that in 2008 her income was unstable and, with having bought a new home, she was advised to settle outstanding debts. Basheer Ahmed Abdool, a close family friend and businessperson, then offered to pay off the debt on her BMW. Munusamy says she was only made aware of Atlantis Motors’ involvement in the debt settlement after coming to learn of Roelofse’s testimony. Abdool then explained to her that he had money owing to him from Atlantis Motors for a car he intended to purchase. On cancelling the purchase, Abdool instructed the car dealership to pay part of the money back by transferring R143 621.78 to Wesbank in settlement of Munusamy’s account.
“Mr Roelofse does not say what the expectation would have been on me in exchange for such a benefit. The fact that I was not even a journalist as (sic) the time and therefore mr Roelofse’s implication that I corrupted myself as a journalist, falls completely flat.”
Munusamy has retained the services of highly respected counsel Dario Milo of Webber Wentzel and Dumisa Ntsibeza SC.
She has applied to cross-examine Roelofse and stated her intent to file a second affidavit and application to cross-examine Naidoo.
Munusamy, an associate editor at Tiso Blackstar, has been placed on special leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Read Munusamy’s affidavit below: