JOHANNESBURG, OCT. 20 -- A South African government employee who disappeared last month and surfaced in London on Thursday charged today that she had been part of a "covert contingent" of Bureau of Information operatives sent to Namibia to advance the election prospects of a relatively conservative political party. Her claim today made Sue Dobson, 26, a double agent, for on Thursday she said that for nine years she had been a spy for the African National Congress, the main black nationalist organization fighting Pretoria's white minority rule. The double-agent role was described by Dobson in the Namibian, a daily newspaper in Windhoek, and confirmed by ANC officials at their exile headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia. Dobson's charges drew the Bureau for Information into a potentially damaging controversy similar to the information scandal of 1978, when millions of dollars of allegedly misappropriated funds were used in an attempt to influence opinion abroad in favor of South Africa. Dobson said the South African government budgeted $1.3 million to covertly influence the election in Namibia. She claimed in an interview with The Namibian's London correspondent that several months ago she was selected to join a seven-member "special covert contingent" of information specialists that was sent to Namibia to undermine the leftist South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) and promote the rival Democratic Turnhalle Alliance. The South African operatives, Dobson was quoted as saying, were also instructed to obtain personal information about members of the United Nations peace-keeping force for use in discrediting them. She said that all the time she was working for the state information bureau she had been reporting intelligence to the ANC. All of the activities on behalf of Pretoria described by Dobson are in contravention of the peace agreement that calls for "free and fair" U.N.-supervised independence elections beginning on Nov. 7. A spokesman for the bureau, Chris van der Westhuizen, denied Dobson's allegations as "sheer fantasy obviously dictated by the ANC" and called her an "emotionally fragile child" who is being used by the Lusaka-based guerrilla movement in an attempt to embarrass the South African government. Van der Westhuizen said that $1.3 million had been allocated in the budget of the South African territory's administrator general for use in a "voter education advertising campaign," and that all operations of bureau employees sent to Namibia on temporary assignment were "completely aboveboard." However, Fred Eckhardt, spokesman for the U.N. Transition Assistance Group in Windhoek, said that U.N. officials there had been "aware of a pattern that certainly raised questions in our minds whether there might not be some kind of orchestrated effort of this sort." Eckhardt noted that Namibian Peace Plan 435, an independent monitoring group, had reported that the Pretoria-administered South West Africa Broadcasting Corp. recently has been particularly aggressive in criticizing SWAPO and the U.N. peace-keepers and in promoting the Turnhalle Alliance, which before the independence plan went into effect dominated a transitional government controlled by South Africa. The allegations about the Information Bureau come as nonaligned nations in the U.N. General Assembly are mounting a major campaign to call into question the fairness of the Namibian election because of alleged South African interference. Dobson's story began to unfold with disclosures in the South African press on Oct. 7 that she had disappeared from her information job in Windhoek on Sept. 24 after visiting the Soviet mission there. She reportedly then drove to Johannesburg, where she caught a plane to London and was joined there by her husband, Peter, a computer specialist in Johannesburg. Van der Westhuizen said -- and the ANC in Lusaka confirmed -- that Peter Dobson was also an agent of the guerrilla movement and, with his wife, had sought asylum in Britain. The ANC said the Dobsons operated "undetected and with great success," gaining access to plans of security organizations in Pretoria. On Thursday, in a statement issued in London, Sue Dobson said she had worked for the ANC while employed as a journalist first by a Johannesburg pro-government newspaper, the Citizen, and then for the state-run South African Broadcasting Corp. before joining the Information Bureau a year ago as a junior writer for government publications. In the statement, she said she was posted to the office of South West Africa/Namibia Administrator General Louis Pienaar along with two other bureau employees and persons she identified as being attached to the South African Defense Forces and the National Intelligence Service. She said they were instructed to disseminate information that would promote South Africa as a "peacemaker" and which would "play up" divisions within SWAPO and intimate that Anton Lubowski, a senior SWAPO official who was assassinated in Windhoek last month, was murdered by a SWAPO gunman. Dobson also was quoted as saying she was instructed to interview U.N. Special Representative Martti Ahtisaari for the purpose of "trying to get him to say that he was satisfied with the {election} registration process and satisfied that the election would be free and fair." Ahtisaari has publicly suggested otherwise. The Namibian, a pro-SWAPO daily, also quoted Dobson as saying that news copy that she produced would be given to "selected journalists" who were paid to distribute it in the South African and foreign media. Information Bureau officials said that Dobson recently had been approached about a job opening as a translator in President Frederik W. de Klerk's office and suggested that she may have fled to Britain when she realized that a security clearance investigation might uncover her connections with the ANC. Van der Westhuizen said the ANC appeared to have collaborated with her on her story about the bureau's alleged activities in an effort to embarrass the government.