01/12/2017 09:25 SAST | Updated 01/12/2017 09:25 SAST

MultiChoice: Payments To ANN7 To Be Investigated

The pay-TV company, that owns DStv and M-Net, was also accused of paying R100-million in kickbacks to the SABC.

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Johannesburg - MultiChoice will investigate its total payments to the controversial ANN7 TV channel following media reports of "an irregular relationship" and concerns about corporate governance failures, News24 reported.

The chair of the MultiChoice audit and risk committees, Don Eriksson, said in a statement on Friday that the board would investigate and take necessary action.

On Wednesday, City Press reported that the pay-TV company, which owns DStv and M-Net, was accused of paying R100-million in kickbacks to the SABC in exchange for the public's broadcaster "political influence over digital migration".

- Read more: No clandestine meetings, kickbacks with SABC - MultiChoice

This followed a report by News24 regarding a R25-million payment to ANN7 and that MultiChoice had increased its annual payment to the channel from R50-million to R141-million.

MultiChoice insisted previously that there was nothing untoward with its relationship with ANN7.

Here is MultiChoice's full statement:

Statement by the chair of the MultiChoice audit and risk committees, Don Eriksson - independent non-executive director

The MultiChoice board has read the various media reports alleging that MultiChoice has entered into an irregular relationship for the carriage of the ANN7 channel.

The board is aware that the ANN7 channel has caused real public concern because of the allegations of corruption levelled at the former owners of the channel.

These allegations have negatively impacted the reputation of MultiChoice. The MultiChoice board has therefore instructed its audit and risk committees to:

- Assess whether there has been any corporate governance failures at MultiChoice and report back to the board. Based on what is contained in that report, the MultiChoice board will take the necessary action;

- Assess whether the total amount paid to ANN7 is comparable to payments made for other locally-produced channels with due consideration being given to the estimated costs of running a 24-hour news channel;

- Draw on any expertise and skills necessary in order to fulfil the mandate given by the board.

In addition, Adv Moroka, one of the MultiChoice board members, was requested by the board and has agreed to, assist the audit and risk committees in this matter.