Former Minister of Communications, Dina Pule and her top officials were found guilty of abusing their power and lying to parliament.
This is according to the Sunday Times, which reported today (11 August 2013) that the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics had wrapped up a 5-month investigation into Pule.
The committee’s findings implicated Pule and her boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, as well as deputy directors-general Themba Phiri and Sam Vilakazi in the scandal, reporting further that Mngqibisa’s company, Khemano, had gained R6-million in improper funds.
The nine-member, multi-party panel led by Ben Turok adopted the report on the conduct of Pule and her top officials unanimously.
According to the paper, the report recommended that Pule, Mngqibisa, Phiri, and Vilakazi be criminally charged for misleading parliament under oath.
The Sunday Times went on to highlight some of the findings of the report:
- Pule claimed that sponsorship for the controversial ICT Indaba was already in place when she took office in October 2011. The report found the sponsorship contract signed on 10 May 2012.
- The report also found that Mngqibisa’s company, Khemano, was imposed on Indaba organiser Carol Bouwer.
- Former ICT Indaba planning manager for the Department of Communications (DoC), Bandile Hadebe, said there was no reason to include Khemano as a partner.
Pule’s former personal assistant, Tsakane Mahlaule, was a key witness in the investigation, as she confirmed Pule’s relationship with Mngqibisa. The former Minister had been furiously denying her romantic involvement with Mngqibisa.
Sunday Times reported that the ethics committee recommended the maximum penalties for Pule’s transgressions.
These penalties are an official reprimand, a fine for 30 days’ salary, the loss of her parliamentary privileges for 15 days, and to retrospectively correct her false declarations of interest.
The ethics committee report also urged President Jacob Zuma to revise parliament’s code of conduct to increase penalties for serious offences, the paper said.
Sunday Times also reported that DoC officials that ignored requests to appear before the panel, submitted incomplete information, or claimed crucial documents had disappeared, received a special mention in the ethics committee report.
According to the paper, the report recommended that these officials be referred for investigation to the Public Service Commission.