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Sekunjalo boss slams Sunday Times

Feb 18 2014 09:40
Fin24
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Whilst Premier Fishing has been engaged in a settlement negotiation with the Competition Commission to deal with this matter, it does not believe that it is guilty of contravening the Competition Act. (Shutterstock)

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Cape Town - Sekunjalo Investments Limited [JSE:SKJ] has accused the Sunday Times of a smear campaign ever since it acquired Independent News Media South Africa, according to a SENS report on Tuesday.

"Sekunjalo has been subjected to defamatory attacks by the Times Media Group [JSE:TMG] over the last few months since Sekunjalo Holdings acquired the competitor to TMG, Independent News Media South Africa (INMSA)."

TMG Newspapers and online has published almost 60 articles on Sekunjalo since its acquisition of INMSA and almost all instances the articles are defamatory, it said.

"The latest attempt by the Sunday Times is a cheap shot aimed at Sekunjalo", said Sekunjalo chief executive officer Khalid Abdulla.

Sekunjalo said reports in the Sunday Times that subsidiary Premier Fishing is being investigated by the Competition Commission aims to ruin its reputation.

"It is well known that Premier Fishing is in discussion with the Competition Commission around an investigation into the small pelagic industry and this is yet another desperate attempt by the Sunday Times to portray Premier Fishing in a bad light.

"This is the second time in as many months that the Sunday Times completely disregards and disrespects regulatory authorities and their process by publishing information which is not complete and uses it to create the impression that the company has committed a transgression."

Sekunjalo said the alleged contraventions of the Competition Act dates backs to before 2006 and are technical in nature and "not typical of blatant collusive activity".

"The Sunday Times has deliberately tried to misinform the public and create the impression that the technical contravention of the Act was recent."

It said that the Competition Commission has not yet referred the matter against Premier Fishing to the Tribunal for hearing, adding that  any penalty has already been accounted for.

Whilst Premier Fishing has been engaged in a settlement negotiation with the Competition Commission to deal with this matter, it does not believe that it is guilty of contravening the Competition Act.

Read the full SENS report here.

Sekunjalo and TMG also crossed swords in the past.

It laid criminal charges against a Sunday Times editor and a reporter, but then decided to drop the charges and lay a complaint with the Press Ombudsman.

This related to the Sunday Times and Cape Times's coverage of a finding by the public protector that the awarding of a fisheries tender by the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium was improper.

The matter also involved as a broader complaint regarding an attack on Sekunjalo's integrity in various newspapers in the past two years.


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