A series of anonymous letters from employees and former employees of
daily newspaper Beeld to the board of its holding company, Media24, has
accused Beeld management of "serious corruption" and fingered its
former chief executive, Lucille van Niekerk, as being "seriously
implicated" in an internal audit report, write Nic dawes and many Rossouw in the Mail & Guardian.
The employees appeal to the company's shareholders to intervene. "It is recommended in the [audit] report that steps be taken against [Van Niekerk]. In the meantime she has been promoted to the senior manager of Rapport," the letter says.
Van Niekerk is now chief executive of RCP Media, a Media24 subsidiary that publishes Rapport and City Press.
The letter goes on: "Hear our plea as dedicated employees and some former employees for your urgent intervention in a matter of ongoing corruption that could hurt share values. We thought that lessons would have been learned after the Media24 magazine scandal."
This refers to the revelation earlier this year that titles in the magazine section of Media24 had fraudulently inflated their circulation figures.
Company sources say Van Niekerk was investigated for selling fake ads in an attempt to reach the advertising targets while she was Beeld's advertising chief (until three years ago). She then became Beeld CEO and in January this year was promoted again.
"Many of us was [sic] a part of the investigation and know the truth," the letter says. "For to [sic] long we have been silent victims of the Beeld scandal. We do not want to hurt our company, we want to save it. Act soon or we will have to release more info." Several such letters have been received by Media24 management in the past six weeks.
Click here to read the full report, posted on M&G Online.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â