Ranjeni Munusamy denies state capture claims, 'wants sight' of Crime Intelligence whistleblower

09 October 2019 - 18:49 By Matthew Savides
Tiso Blackstar associate editor Ranjenii Munusamy.
Tiso Blackstar associate editor Ranjenii Munusamy.
Image: Supplied

Tiso Blackstar associate editor Ranjeni Munusamy wants to "have sight" of state capture inquiry witness Col Dhanajaya Naidoo as part of an application to refute claims he made against her at the state capture commission.

Failing this, she wants to see a photograph of him. This was contained in an affidavit Munusamy filed to the commission on Wednesday.

Naidoo testified at the commission that Munusamy benefited from the Crime Intelligence (CI) "slush fund" by, among other things, having repairs to her car worth about R40,000 paid for. It was also previously claimed at the commission that the outstanding R143,000 on Munisamy's car was paid off using the fund, which typically covers the costs of running safe houses, paying informants and so on.

In an affidavit filed on September 30, where she sought to refute claims over the settling of the car, which were first made by Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse - she denied any wrongdoing. She filed the document as part of a request to cross-examine Roelofse over his accusations.

Tiso Blackstar, which publishes TimesLIVE, has placed Munusamy on special leave.

Naidoo, who previously worked for Crime Intelligence, fessed up to the Hawks over alleged abuse of the slush fund. He was placed in witness protection and testified at the commission in camera, with a strict instruction made that no visuals of him should be provided in order to protect his identity.

In an affidavit filed on Wednesday, which she gave to TimesLIVE, Munusamy again denies wrongdoing, and says she wants to cross-examine Naidoo. She says the claims have "already done considerable damage to my reputation".

"I wish to make it clear that I deny having been involved in any act of corruption, bribery fraud or money laundering. I deny that I knowingly received funds from state funds [or] payments from the SA police Secret Service Account, or knowingly had my BMW 330Ci convertible repaired using SSA funds," she said.

Munusamy also states that Naidoo did not provide any evidence "of what I had done or was expected to do" in exchange for the payments.

Speaking of an incident in which Naidoo alleges her tyres were replaced on the car - which Naidoo told the commission cost R40,000 - Munusamy said that she went to a shopping centre in 2008 or 2009 near her home and when she came out noticed that all four tyres were deflated.

She said this was a concern and, after driving home slowly, called a few people to explain what had happened. One of them was Blade Nzimande, who was SACP general-secretary at the time. He suggested opening a case with police because of the suspicious nature of what had happened.

However, as she was worried that police wouldn't take the matter seriously, she called "an acquaintance", Lt-Gen Rayman Lalla, who she knew from covering political violence in KwaZulu-Natal in the early 1990s.

Lalla, she said, referred her incident to a Gen Mulangi Mphego, who she had also previously met because of her work as a journalist. Mphego, Munusamy said, told her that he would assist and assign another general - "whose name I cannot remember" - to help.

"I later received a call from a male individual who did not introduce himself on the phone, but simply stated that he was told I had a problem with my vehicle and asked for my address and directions to my residence. He arrived ... and I do not recall that he introduced himself by name or informed me that he was a police officer. He was an Indian male. It may be that this was Col Naidoo. I will likely be able to confirm this when I see a photograph of him," she writes in the affidavit.

Munusamy said the man took her car away for a full assessment, and because she "wanted to ensure that my car had not been tampered with and was safe to drive", she agreed that it be taken.

"I also knew the person has been sent as a result of my call to Gen Lalla, who I trusted," she said.

The vehicle was returned the following day.

"When I inquired if anything was wrong, he simply informed me that everything was fine ... and did not communicate that any work had been done to my vehicle. Upon inspection of the vehicle, I did not identify any modifications, changes, repairs or work done to the vehicle at all, including to the tyres. To me, the vehicle was returned in the exact same condition. It was my understanding that my vehicle had just gone for an inspection and that no problems had been detected.

"I stress that I was not aware at all that any money had been spent by anyone - much less SAPS Crime Intelligence - to repair anything on my car, nor was I told that anything needed to be repaired," she said.

Munusamy also denies that she met with Naidoo over the BMW, which the Crime Intelligence whistleblower said happened "three or four times".

"The [shopping centre] incident is the only time that my vehicle has ever been collected - I assume by Col Naidoo - following my discussion with Gen Lalla," she said.

She added that for her to properly refute Naidoo's claims, she would need to know what he looks like.

"As Col Naidoo testified in camera, I cannot be sure of whether I ever met Col Naidoo, as he alleges. I would need to have sight of Col Naidoo or an approved photograph of him in order to verify whether he was in fact the individual that had taken my car for inspection and to determine whether I have in fact had any interactions with him, as he alleges.

"That is why I have requested [this] from the commission."

Munusamy also denied some of the specifics of Naidoo's testimony over the first incident involving the car, including that:

  • she was a "confidant" of Mphego;
  • the vehicle was collected from a petrol station near her home;
  • extensive repair work was done on the vehicle, including an alleged fault to her radio; and
  • the car was not returned for a week or two.

"There are numerous improbabilities and falsehoods contained in Col Naidoo's version of the first incident surrounding my vehicle," she said.

Munusamy also denied other claims made by Naidoo over two other instances where he claimed to have been asked to assist in helping her with the vehicle.

"I wish to state that I am extremely distressed that my name has been linked to these false claims. I am shocked by the implication by Col Naidoo that I knowingly benefitted from being paid by the SSA. This is not true," she said.

"If I am granted leave to cross-examine Col Naidoo and provide my own evidence ... I will demonstrate ... that the allegations are false and were made without due consideration for the true facts."

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