Tiso editor Ranjeni Munusamy's on special leave after state capture claims
JOHANNESBURG - Hawk's investigator Kobus Roelofse said on Wednesday a secret slush fund of the Crime Intelligence paid off Tiso Blackstar journalist and editor Ranjeni Munusamy’s car.
Tiso Blackstar houses publications such as the Sunday Times, TimesLive, Sowetan, and The Herald.
Roelofse said this revelation came while he was investigating claims of corruption at the Crime Intelligence and a vehicle dealership called Atlantis Motors in Centurion, Pretoria.
He said an amount of R143,621.78 was paid from the Atlantis Motors business account to WesBank Vehicle Finance account “in a settlement agreement in a vehicle registered in the name of miss Ranjeni Munusamy. And as far as I know, she’s a journalist.”
The amount was debited on 30 June 2008, Roelofse claimed.
Tiso Blackstar then released a statement on Wednesday saying Munusamy has been placed on special leave to allow her to deal with the allegations.
It's understood she denied the allegations and intended to defend herself against them.
The media group said Munusamy had not been engaged by any of its titles or companies during the period covered by these allegations and only joined them in 2017.
"The company was unaware of any investigation involving Munusamy. At the time, she was engaged as an independent contractor."
#StateCaptureInquiry Tiso Blackstar Group has released a statement re journalist Ranjeni Munusamy - who has been implicated at the Zondo commission.— Jeanette Chabalala (@J_chabalala) September 18, 2019
"We have granted her special leave considering the gravity of these allegations." @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/xzT5U1RRXi
NO STRANGER TO CONTROVERSY
Munusamy is no stranger to controversy.
Her PR consultancy ran the Friends of Jacob Zuma website at a time when the former president was facing allegations of corruption while he was running for the African National Congress presidency.
She wrote articles chastising former President Thabo Mbeki for National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decisions to prosecute Zuma and even labelled NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka a spy.
She was also implicated among people who tried to pressurise the late Fezeka Khwezi Kuzwayo to drop rape charges against Zuma.
However, by 2013, she was calling Zuma “evil”, “corrupt” and “unfit to lead”.
Munusammy said in a short statement that she was cooperating fully with the state capture commission and drafting a response.
"I deny the allegations made against me at the Zondo Commission today. They are baseless. I am working with my lawyers to draft a response to the allegations for the Commission, with whom I am cooperating fully."
WATCH: State capture inquiry, 18 September 2019