President Jacob Zuma has issued a proclamation for the Special Investigations Unit to look at claims of “serious maladministration” at the department of communications under the leadership of Dina Pule.
The proclamation, issued on Wedensday (3 September), ordered the SIU to investigate any unlawful behaviour at the department from 2009, to date.
The SIU is tasked to investigate and recover any funds in relation to:
- Serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the Department;
- Improper or unlawful conduct by employees or officials of the Department;
- Unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property;
- Unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon State property;
- Intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property;
- Unlawful or improper conduct by any person, which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public or any category thereof.
Specifically, Zuma wants the SIU to look at the donation of R10 million by the department towards the hosting of the Information Communication and Technology Indaba which took place in June 2012.
Other focal points include travel and accommodation expenses or other benefits which were paid by the Department, and any related unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred.
The recruitment, selection, and appointment of employees, as well as the procurement of goods, works or services at the department is also under question.
The figure at the centre of the above investigation is former communications minister, Dina Pule, who was sacked as communications minister in July 2013 as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
The former minister was embroiled in a number of controversies relating to wasteful expenditure, abuse of power and corruption at the department.
She was accused of wasting over R100 million on the now-infamous ICT Indaba, which saw her romantic partner benefit financially from sponsor’s funds.
Pule and her partner were also accused of traveling extravagantly on the department’s tab, while many of Pule’s appointments during her tenure were brought into question, with accusations of nepotism and bullying surrounding them.
Pule was found guilty of abusing her power at the department by a parliamentary ethics committee in August 2013, and faced similar investigations from the Hawks and Public Protector.