News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
4 minute read
30 Sep 2019
11:21 am

R40k paid from secret state security slush fund to service Ranjeni Munusamy’s car, Zondo hears

Makhosandile Zulu

The witness says he had met the senior journalist on three occasions and had had her car serviced.

Ranjeni Munusamy. Picture: Twitter.

Ex-crime intelligence member Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo on Monday told the chair of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that Tiso Blackstar senior journalist Ranjeni Munusamy’s car was serviced with money from the secret state security slush fund.

Following accusations levelled against Munusamy during previous testimony that she received R143,621.70 from a secret slush fund allegedly used by state security crime intelligence officers, she was placed on suspension.

Hawks officer Colonel Kobus Roelofse made this allegation when he testified at the commission, saying that the alleged payments to Munusamy were discovered while investigating corruption claims relating to crime intelligence and Atlantis Motors, a company based in Centurion.

The payment was allegedly made towards the end of July, 2008, to pay off a vehicle registered in Munusamy’s name.

“We were able to uncover an amount of R143,621.70. It was paid from the Atlantis Motors business account to Wesbank vehicle finance account in the settlement agreement of the vehicle in the name of Ms Ranjeni Munusamy. As far as I know, she is a journalist,” Roelofse said.

Naidoo on Monday told Zondo that he had met with Munusamy on three occasions after he was instructed by the head of crime intelligence at the time, around 2008, Mulangi Mphego that he should assist her with servicing her car.

Naidoo said he had taken the car to New World Motors, which was the service provider for “company x” – a company used by crime intelligence.

Naidoo said tyres were changed, the vehicle was serviced, and he said that if he remembered correctly, the radio was faulty and one of the seats needed some attention.

The witness said the understanding was that company x would be invoiced by New World Motors.

Naidoo on Friday told Zondo that a crime intelligence who cannot be named but was referred to as FM09 asked former police Major General Solomon Lazarus to spin a story, to which the latter nodded.

Later on the same day, FM09 told Naidoo that he should stay away from former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya.

A few days later from these incidents, On Sunday 23 October 2011, Naidoo obtained a copy of the Sunday Times which ran with a front-page article regarding Dramat and the Zimbabwe renditions matter, the commission heard.

Naidoo said that when he read the article, he considered the “spinning a story” incident and what FM09 had said which solidified his belief that journalists were used by crime intelligence to plant stories in the media “because, chair, all of these things happened in a few days”.

“I have knowledge of three instances where journalists were paid or used by crime intelligence,” Naidoo told Zondo.

He said early 2010 or late 2009, former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli told him that he, Mdluli, had to meet with a journalist who had information which would have been detrimental to crime intelligence and that he needed R20,000 or R25,000 to pay off the journalist. However, Mdluli had not told Naidoo the journalist’s name or the publication that the journalist worked for.

He subsequently met with Lazarus and told him about Mdluli’s meeting with the journalist and asked to fill in an advance form to obtain the cash from the secret security slush fund.

However, Lazarus said he should not fill in the advance but that FM08 should.

Once the cash was secured, he handed it over to Mdluli, Naidoo said, adding that he was not sure how that particular advance was reconciled.

Naidoo told Zondo of a second instance involving a journalist and crime intelligence though he said he could not recall the time period.

This instance took place in Lazarus’s office where members of crime intelligence were having a conversation and FM09 told Lazarus that “Marshall is waiting or rather Marshall needs an answer as the journalist is waiting”, to which Lazarus responded by saying “pay”.

Naidoo said “Marshall” was ex crime intelligence head Mphego.

The third instance of a journalist either being paid or having connections with crime intelligence involved Munsamy.

This was around 2008 when Naidoo was called by Mphego, who asked him to get in touch with his contact, Munusamy, who was having problems with her vehicle.

He then contacted Munusamy to collect her vehicle to have it repaired at New World Motors, which would invoice company x.

A week after Munusamy’s vehicle had been returned to her, Mphego again contacted Naidoo and asked why the run on flat tyres had not been fitted in Munusamy’s car, which was subsequently done at New World Motors.

Naidoo told Zondo the Munusamy’s vehicle was a convertible silver BMW.

“I’m not sure if I met her two or three times in this manner,” Naidoo told Zondo.

Around the fourth time that Naidoo met with Munusamy, it was a Sunday at her place of residence after Mphego had called him to say the journalist had car problems again.

Naidoo said around R40,000 was paid from the slush fund to service Munusamy’s vehicle and that Colonel Hein Barnard had put in the claim.

Naidoo, however, said he did not see the claim form and so did not know what motivation was used for the money.

Naidoo’s testimony continues, watch live courtesy of the SABC.

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