05/12/2017 12:57 SAST | Updated 06/12/2017 06:00 SAST

Naspers Under Investigation By U.S. Law Firm Over MultiChoice Payments

Pomerantz on Tuesday announced it is investigating claims on behalf of Naspers investors.


Media giant Naspers could potentially face a class action lawsuit in light of controversial payments made by its pay-TV subsidiary MultiChoice to ANN7 and SABC.

U.S. law firm Pomerantz on Tuesday announced it is investigating on behalf of Naspers investors whether the company's "officers and/or directors have engaged in fraud or other unlawful business practices".

It follows allegations that MultiChoice attempted to purchase influence over government's long-stalled digital migration switch through payments to the news channels.

The Democratic Alliance last week revealed SABC board meeting minutes showing MultiChoice sought to pay the SABC R100 million, allegedly in exchange for sway over government's position on set-top boxes.

READ: Full Statement: Koos Bekker Responds To MultiChoice Saga

Naspers on Friday issued a statement saying it was the MultiChoice board's responsibility to deal with allegations, adding that once investigations have been done it would need to "report back to the Naspers board and public".

Former communications minister Yunus Carrim, who had previously met with Naspers chair Koos Bekker regarding digital encryption, criticised the statement which referred to interactions between the two, saying it is "bizarre suggest that Bekker was hands-off from MultiChoice's vigorous campaign to change government policy on encryption".

READ: Full Statement: Yunus Carrim On Naspers And Koos Bekker

Meanwhile, Parliament on Tuesday was reportedly considering a probe into allegations about MultiChoice's conduct, according to Business Day.

Chairman of the portfolio committee on communications, Humphrey Maxegwana, told the publication: "We can't just leave the issues in the public domain. It needs to be discussed and a decision needs to be taken."

Eyewitness News (EWN) also reported that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is considering a probe after the DA reportedly asked the watchdog to investigate.