We Will Not Be Bullied Into Silence

By Pinky Khoabane

Pinky Khoabane

THE past three months have been hell here at UnCensored since receiving the threat to shut us down if we didnt remove all the articles related to an affidavit by Democratic Alliance (DA) Councillor Simon Lapping with details of how First National Bank (FNB) through its now CEO Jacques Celliers, paid him over R155000 “to go away”.

Lapping claimed he had come to discover that FNB was making unauthorised debit orders and had put this to the CEO, among his own personal issues with the bank. In one of the emails it becomes clear FNB gags Lapping telling him if he mentioned the matter to anyone, all the money he owes the bank will simply return

The email, from someone who refused to reveal their identity, said UnCensored had violated Lapping’s right to privacy and defamed him. I asked them to identify the areas which were defamatory in the articles so that I could remove them and that they needed to identify who they were. They refused to identify themselves and so, I too, refused to take the matter further.

The following day I received threats where I live. A few days later, all camera equipment we were going to use for a series on YouTube was stolen in a burglary. I now share my telephonic conversations with others listening in and at times being so rude as to play music while we are talking. I have had daily intimidation  including having the lock of my car tempered with. The YouTube version of UnCensored will go on. Our generous sponsor has replaced the equipment and WE WILL NOT BE SHUT DOWN.

Two days ago, the SAPS told me they had had no luck in serving papers on Celliers on charges of fraud and corruption relating to the the Lapping matter. The investigator said Celliers and others named in the alleged corruption and fraud do not sign for the papers and they (SAPS) cant take the matter for review by a senior prosecutor to determine if the matter can be prosecuted. I requested the investigator to give me the dates and details of the people who had signed for the charges. I’m still waiting and have therefore not put questions to FNB.

It was always puzzling why months after publishing the articles on Lapping and Celliers that we would suddenly get threats.

Yesterday, Nico Niemand who got the affidavit from Lapping told me he had a conversation with DA’s Mervyn Cirota telling him there was an arrest out for him. I sent an email asking for details and if such a conversation took place. He hasnt responded.

In the last two weeks or so we have apparently come under scrutiny in the Royal Court of Jersey relating to the Brakspear and Nedbank matter. Since publishing these stories we have had a flood of stories from people alleging forced liquidations by banks and their lawyers. This is a huge matter which the commercial media do not touch. Trial fixing and forced liquidation. Because we have no resources, we cant follow up on these stories. This is the biggest form of corruption. In brief, the Brakspears alleged they were liquidated by Nedbank for a loan they didnt ask for and for which they never received. The case was held here and the judge sided with Nedbank. In Jersey, Nedbank was forced to open its books and the Brakspears allege the loan for which they were liquidated and their lives destroyed, doesnt appear in the bank’s books.

A source one of the cases we published received a visit from his bank two days ago demanding their loan or else…..

Just last week, a contributor whose piece on the incestuous relationship between banks, auditing firms and JSE listed companies we published almost a year ago, is being hauled before a disciplinary hearing by SAICA for bringing the profession into disrepute. If this wasnt a serious matter of violation of freedom of speech, it would be funny! With all the sleaze coming out of that bloody industry, it doesnt need anyone to slander it.

UnCensored is self funded. The adverts which we recently allowed as part of our attempt to bring money into the platform bring very little. We refuse to be silenced. We must hold corporates to account and they should not be allowed to use their financial muscle to muzzle us.

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