Tue, 23 Jul 2019

NB Publishers has come out in defence of investigative journalist Jacques Pauw following a R35m lawsuit by former State Security Agency (SSA) director general Arthur Fraser over statements made in Pauw's book, .

"Fraser, who is now head of correctional services, is claiming the book contains defamatory material centred on the Principal Agent Network, or PAN, which was the subject earlier this year of a high-level review panel chaired by Dr Sydney Mufamadi," the publishing company said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The review found widespread abuse of the country's intelligence services for political ends. NB Publishers stands by its author and has retained legal counsel to defend Pauw and the book."

Comment from Pauw will be added once it is received.

On Tuesday evening, Fraser's lawyer, Rapulane Kgoroeadira, confirmed that a summons had been issued against Pauw and NB Publishers with the quantum for damages due to defamation standing at R35m.

He said his instructions were that statements in the book caused Fraser harm and also affected his business.

There was also "little control over their revenue generation from the businesses that they were using as front companies", he added.

"It is these same individuals, who previously infiltrated liberation movements, who later migrated into intelligence structures after amalgamation and continued their practices and management of sources stemming from the former apartheid era into the democratic dispensation," Fraser added at the time.

He said the panel investigated some breaches within the PAN but ignored other intelligence ones. These include tobacco smuggling and intelligence operations against the South African Revenue Services' probe of it and the leaking of classified documents to news agency Al Jazeera.

Fraser said the report made contradictory remarks about alleged political interference in the intelligence services. The report says that politically loyal individuals were deployed to the intelligence agencies by politicians, and that the executive ignored warnings about the influence of "a certain family" over the president - presumably, a reference to the Guptas.

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