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SSA Denies ‘Helping’ Arthur Fraser in Lawsuit Against Author of The President’s Keepers

The State Security Service (SSA) has denied “misleading claims” that it protects the former National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser in the midst of a legal dispute.

This is after a News24 op-ed questioned Fraser’s influence over the SSA, labeling it “a serious signal that the new dawn has completely sidestepped South Africa’s troubled intelligence community”.

Fraser – who is also the former director general of SSA – is suing investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw for slander.

ALSO READ: Chief Justice’s Objection: Arthur Fraser Says Zondo ‘Lacks Integrity’

The former prison boss demands R35 million from Pauw and NB Publishers for the allegations stated in the author’s The Guardians of the President book published in 2017.

This follows Pauw handing over copies of allegedly classified files to the SSA on Monday.

Misleading Claims

SSA Acting Director General Gab Msimang had demanded that the classified documents be returned “with immediate effect” as they were intended to be used as evidence in Fraser’s arrest. court case against Peacock.

The SSA said the documents could not be kept by third parties under the Protection of Information Act.

The agency has also defended itself, saying the op-ed made misleading claims and portrayed it helping Fraser.

Msimang said the SSA “acted in terms of its legal obligations and not to shield anyone or take sides in their personal legal battle”.

“I have a duty under the Intelligence Services Act to protect members’ identities, practices and classified information from unauthorized disclosure,” the acting director general said in a statement Thursday.

READ MORE: Zondo rejects Arthur Fraser’s request to cross-examine witnesses

“In fact, we’ve been in talks with Mr Jacque Pauw’s legal team and agreed upon certain protocols on how to handle that information going forward.

“It is therefore both mischievous and opportunistic to suggest that the Agency shield or assist anyone in this regard.

“The obligation to protect classified information is sacred and anyone in possession of such information is breaking the law and will be treated as such,” Msimang added.

‘Hide behind a crime’

Speak with CapeTalk Pauw said on Tuesday that he had been in possession of the copies since 2014.

“I have always made no secret of the fact that I am in possession of [SSA] documents. My perception has always been that you can’t use intelligence law to hide behind a crime.

“These documents do not reveal any state secrets. All it does is tell us all the abuse, theft and fraud that took place at the [SSA],” he said.

Peacock suggested that the SSA would reclaim the copies after Fraser wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Msimanga informing them that the author was in possession of the documents.

ALSO READ: DA disapproves of Fraser’s transfer to correctional services

“After I published my book [in 2017], Fraser has sued me for R35 million for defamation. And he said a company went under as a result of my reporting.

†[For] four years and nothing happened and [at] at the end of last year he wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The next moment we get a letter from Acting Director General of the [SSA] and he demanded the documents back. He said we were in illegal possession of these documents. They will pick it up at the law firm on Monday. We still intend to use these documents in the defamation case,” the author added.

PAN project

Fraser was implicated in misconduct by some witnesses to the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of… Capture statein particular about the R600 million Principal Agent Network (PAN)among other allegations.

The PAN had also become a topic of conversation when The Guardians of the President was released.

According to Pauw, a PAN was just slang for spy handlers — people who engage and manage other spies on behalf of the SSA.

The book described the PAN as another parallel intelligence structure that allegedly funneled nearly R1 billion in state funds over three years and diverted the state’s intelligence mechanisms to Fraser.

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