The damning report of the ethics probe into sacked communications minister Dina Pule will only be forwarded to the police, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Public Service Commission once the National Assembly adopts it.
Ethics committee registrar Fazela Mahomed – who, with investigating panel chairperson, veteran ANC MP Ben Turok, is under special protection following threats to sabotage the probe – confirmed this.
The first of five National Assembly plenaries for this term is on August 20.
It can adopt or reject the report or send it back to Parliament’s ethics watchdog for further consideration.
Pule is the first Cabinet minister to be hauled before a parliamentary ethics hearing.
Its recommendation that possible criminal charges be investigated – against Pule, already the subject of a Hawks probe, as well as top Department of Communications (DoC) officials – is also unprecedented.
The murky saga involving Pule, her lover, Phosane Mngqibisa, and multimillion-rand sponsorship of the 2012 ICT Indaba pivots on abuse of power and influence, the report reveals.
Evidence by Pule, Mngqibisa, and DoC officials Sam Vilakazi and Themba Phiri was “unreliable and untrustworthy”, the committee found.
Pule “wilfully misled” the committee and another DoC official failed to appear before it.
The report asks that Parliament refer to the SA Police Service and the NPA the potential breach of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act, which makes lying to it a serious offence.
Pule was found to have:
» Breached the Code of Conduct for MPs by failing to disclose her relationship with Mngqibisa, whose company, Khemano, benefited from the ICT Indaba;
» Denied under oath Mngqibisa was her partner and that the DoC paid for his travel, saying he was a comrade and friend, despite him being named as her spouse for a 2009 trip to Mexico when she was deputy communications minister;
» “Continued to deny the relationship . . . despite being fully aware she was misleading the panel”;
» Asked Telkom to sponsor without revealing that Mngqibisa was her partner;
» Claimed the deal was sealed before she became minister when the contract was signed in May 2012; and
» Denied Mngqibisa gave her Christian Louboutin shoes, which she did not declare as a gift, contradicting his own testimony. No finding was made on this due to lack of corroborating evidence.
Mngqibisa was by his “own account . . . a businessman seeking opportunity wherever it may be”, who enjoyed through Pule “an unfair advantage” over other industry players, the report says.
» Claimed he paid for his own travel until confronted with contrary evidence;
» Said “My private life is my private life” when asked about his relationship with Pule and trips to Mexico, Prague, Paris, Washington, DC, and New York when they shared a car and suites;
» “Improperly” attended the Minister’s Forum at the Indaba, having no official role;
» Registered the ICT Indaba as his despite it being initiator Carol Bouwer’s intellectual property; and
» Invoiced Bouwer for the Louboutins, later claiming they were shoes he bought for himself in Geneva.
Khemano received R6 million consultancy fees from Vodacom and millions from MTN, yet could not do the work. ABR Consulting had to be brought in, but Khemano took charge of the money.
Parliament’s maximum sanctions against Pule – the public rebuke by the Speaker, the fine of 30 days’ salary and loss for 15 days of her MP’s privileges – will kick in once the report is adopted.
She must correct her declarations of interest.
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