A secret court order obtained by Moti Group requiring renowned non-profit investigative journalism unit Amabhungane to return thousands of company documents by Saturday night, which allegedly link Moti Group to a series of inappropriate relationships. with Zimbabwe’s ruling elite, it has been outclassed. turned.
A new revised order, reached by agreement, requires the hidden document to be held until the matter is heard in the Johannesburg High Court for argument.
The second part of the Moti Group’s secret order remains in place, prohibiting the news organization from publishing any articles based on the documents until October.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Amabhungane welcomed the revised order, saying it undid “the worst aspects of the order,” which Moti Group obtained on Thursday.
“The urgent court judge said that the order issued earlier in our absence by Judge John Holland-Muter should never have been granted. Today’s variation of that order, reached by agreement, means that Amabhungane will no longer be required to hand over the documents in his possession, which Moti Group claims belong to them and are stolen documents,” the statement read.
Amabhungane said they had been “seriously concerned about the damage to source protection” as a result of the handover.
“By Friday morning we had already made an offer to preserve the documents pending proper airing of the matter in court. This was rejected by the Moti Group. The variance order effectively implements the offer we made yesterday, which we made to make sure we don’t have to serve documents tonight, as required by the court order.”
“While we are disappointed that the in our opinion unjustified and abusive gag order issued against us remains in effect for now, we will fight this in due course and believe today’s variance was necessary to protect our sources.”
The order was obtained urgently, behind closed doors and ex parte, meaning that Amabhungane was unable to present arguments against the order.
The Moti Group is owned by Zunaid Moti, a controversial business figure with a colorful past.
In April, Amabhungane began publishing a series of articles exposing Moti’s alleged links to Zimbabwe’s ruling elite, linking Moti to bribing various leaders of Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF and members of the government.
Moti Group is a conglomerate with a diverse international portfolio that includes mining, real estate development and aviation.
The nonprofit investigative journalism unit says the documents reveal that Moti has enjoyed a close personal relationship with Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President General Constantine Chiwenga. Supposedly, Moti has repeatedly leaned on them when he needed help with business and personal matters.
Moti has officially rejected any suggestion that he or Moti Group’s main chrome mining company in Zimbabwe, African Chrome Fields (ACF), received improper or improper benefits due to their relationship with Zimbabwean politicians. He also denied that he, ACF or the Moti Group were involved in any form of state capture of Zimbabwe and stated that ACF behaves like any other international investor in Zimbabwe.
The documents that Moti Group wants returned were allegedly downloaded in late 2022 by a former employee, Clinton van Niekerk, before he resigned from the company. Moti Group claims that the documents were “stolen” and that there is an ongoing SAPS investigation into Van Niekerk.