10 May 2023
Zunaid Moti has refuted amaBhungane’s latest claims that the alleged warrants of arrest for three of its journalists – Micah Reddy, Dewald van Rensburg, and its managing partner Sam Sole, has anything to do with him.
Moti said this is yet another example of amaBhungane’s smear-mongering, emphasizing that he has not yet laid criminal complaints against the organisation, Sam Sole or its journalists.
“AmaBhungane’s latest allegations are completely false and the entire story is disingenuous, to say the least,” Moti said.
“AmaBhungane is clearly using cheap media tactics in an attempt to gain sympathy among other journalists and the public for its unprofessional and unethical behaviour in using stolen information.
“I have the greatest respect for the media in general, but amaBhungane’s latest statement about warrants of arrest exemplifies, once again, the false narrative that is being perpetuated against myself and my former company.”
Although he has since left the Moti Group, the company did lay criminal charges in Zimbabwe and South Africa against a former employee, attorney Clinton van Niekerk, after a digital forensic investigation confirmed that he was responsible for the theft of more than 4 000 confidential company documents.
The documents were shared with various third parties including The Sentry, an international investigative journalism organisation based in the US.
The Sentry then collaborated with amaBhungane to release a sensationalised article about Moti’s business dealings in Zimbabwe.
AmaBhungane was warned that the documents used as the basis for its article had been stolen and that they may have been altered, but refused to allow the Moti Group the opportunity to validate or authenticate the documents.
He further stated that amaBhungane received the stolen documents and chose to ignore their attempts to seek justice and fair journalism, but instead decided to pursue sensationalist accusations that cannot be proved.
“This latest story about their fear of arrest or persecution is clearly a sign of a guilty conscience, as they have made themselves party to a crime.
“They cannot hide behind the fact that they are journalists who were dealing with stolen documents, and that doing so has made them complicit. No one is above the law, not even journalists, and justice will eventually take its course.”
He said the timing of the article is highly suspicious given its various allegations against Zimbabwean political figures, and the upcoming elections in that country.
“I strongly believe that there is a hidden agenda at play in amaBhungane’s reporting, and that supposedly independent media is being influenced by outside interests, or perhaps has even been captured.
“We must hold media accountable for their reporting, and for fulfilling their duty for accurate, balanced and unbiased reporting.
“Freedom of speech belongs to everyone, not just journalists, and I believe that there are some serious questions that must be answered about the manner in which amaBhungane is operating.”