The agreement not only ensured that MultiChoice would fork out R141-million a year for ANN7 from April 1 2016, but also guaranteed the Gupta-controlled company a "once off amount" of R25-million.

This had to be paid to Infinity within seven days of the contract being signed, according to the agreement.

Two broadcasting insiders who had previously been involved in MultiChoice's negotiations with news channels say such a "once off amount" is unheard of in the industry.

The once-off fee you refer to is a pro rata payment in terms of an amendment agreement. The amendment agreement was entered into in order to assist with improving production quality," MultiChoice said about the payment.

MultiChoice also maintains that its fee for ANN7 represented a "fair value" at the time of signing the fourth contract amendment, given the cost of running a 24-hour news channel.

"After several rounds of negotiations over a period of three years, during which we developed an understanding of the channel's operating costs and the need for improvements in production quality over time, the final fee was set," says MultiChoice.

MultiChoice admits that it made policy proposals to Muthambi, but the company says the majority of its suggestions were not taken up in later amendments to government legislation.

The company also denies that it was aware that Muthambi was forwarding MultiChoice's suggestions to the Guptas.

"MultiChoice has absolutely no knowledge of the minister sending our proposals to any other person, and can in no way be held responsible for that," says the company.

The issue at hand involves a long-running battle over whether government should favour either encrypted or unencrypted set-top boxes for the country's digital migration process.

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