BBC filmmaker Paul Martin “a fraud” says former South African government media director

South African government spokespeople brief the media.

GCIS

Paul Martin (aka Paul Martin Cainer, aka “Sayed Anwar”) is a freelance BBC journalist and documentary filmmaker whose journalistic fabrications I recently exposed in two major investigative reports.

My first report led others from around the world to come forward with more information about Martin.

Faizal Dawjee, a South African communications consultant and former government media director contacted the BBC and the UK’s Channel 4 News in 2007 “warning them that Paul Martin Cainer was a fraud,” he told me in an email. Cainer is Paul Martin’s original surname, and the name he uses when in South Africa.

In 1998, when Dawjee was working as the government’s director of media, Martin approached them asking for support in purchasing a national radio news network, Live Africa Broadcasting. He wanted Dawjee and “my unit to advertise on his [radio] network and allow him access to government officials. We did not support his project,” Dawjee told me.

“He was subsequently taken to court … The network went into liquidation with workers not paid,” he explained.

South African media reports from around that time show “Paul Martin Cainer” was CEO of Live Africa Broadcasting. The LinkedIn page for Paul Cainer says he was CEO of Live Africa Broadcasting between 1999 and 2001.

And South African Press Association (SAPA) reports from 2000 corroborate Dawjee’s account.

Paul Martin’s radio business accused of ripping-off workers

It seems that Martin/Cainer defrauded his employees of taxes his company owed on their behalf. Because of this, a broadcasting union subsequently called on “all responsible media owners to dissociate themselves publicly from Paul Martin Cainer and his company” (“Union monitors media for abuses,” SAPA, 11 October 2000).

In my interview with him, Martin denied non-payment of taxes, and said the press reports were untrue. The company had been a financial “disaster” and lost money, therefore he could not have owed the government taxes: “If you lose money you don’t end up paying taxes”.

He said: “Live Africa Broadcasting was a highly successful operation in South Africa in editorial terms, in financial terms it was a disaster. I inherited a company which was losing money, I bought it from the South African Press Association when it was losing money and unfortunately we couldn’t turn it round for a number of reasons… the cost of running the operation was greater than the income”.

But here, Paul Martin is avoiding answering the question.

The media reports from the time make it clear that Martin/Cainer’s company failed to pay Unemployment Insurance Fund contributions on behalf of its employees. These would be legally due to the government, regardless of how badly or otherwise the company was doing financially, much like National Insurance contributions in the UK.

Backing up the union’s accusation, government fraud investigator Marie Koekemoer in the same press reports said Martin/Cainer’s company had not paid its contributions for months (see also “Radio media say they obey law,” SAPA, 12 October 2000).

Interestingly, the SAPA report also notes that Martin/Cainer “threatened legal action against anyone publishing [broadcasting union] Bemawu’s statement” which drew attention to the unpaid taxes. Fitting with his long pattern of failing to follow through on threats to sue journalists who exposed him, this was yet more libel posturing, it seems.

“None of your business”

In a follow-up email asking for a response to Dawjee’s account, Martin said: “Though this is none of your business and a completely irrelevant intrusion, I am willing to check with my accountant at that time that the staff were paid to the best of our ability. I believe this was the case”.

Dawjee concludes that Martin/Cainer later “emerged as Paul Martin” a defender of Israel in South Africa around about 2002. Dawjee says he exposed Martin/Cainer, by challenging him to reveal his real identity on national radio: “He [then] disappeared off the radar until he re-emerged and reinvented himself in the UK.”

Perhaps the BBC and Channel 4 should have listened to Mr Dawjee back in 2007.

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As a soap opera this gets better by the day, but I'm also very curious about the nitty-gritty of it. Does the BBC not investigate this type of warning? Did it investigate, but was convinced by Martin/Cainer that there was nothing to it, making him a good con artist, and the BBC naive?

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He first visited Palestine in 2004.