DA shadow minister of communications Marian Shinn has called for an immediate investigation into communication minister Dina Pule after more revelations of alleged misspending of ICT Indaba sponsors’ money have surfaced today.
The Sunday Times reported on 2 September that there is a direct like between Communications Minister Dina Pule’s Christian Louboutin shoes and the missing millions of the ICT Indaba.
The newspaper reported that the Christian Louboutin shoes, which was worn by the minister at the ICT Indaba, was bought with the R25.7 million which sponsors gave for the event.
“The shoes were bought in Barcelona, Spain, by her romantic partner, Phosane Mngqibisa, during one of their international trips together. Mngqibisa’s company, Khemano, had been hired by the event organizer Carol Bouwer Productions to help stage the ICT Indaba,” the Sunday Times reported.
According to the report Mngqibisa denied buying the shoes for Pule, but Carol Bouwer’s spokesperson said that the shoes were indeed bought with ICT indaba sponsorship money and that they have an invoice to substantiate this.
This latest report followed the initial Sunday Times article in June where it was revealed that the DoC spent R102 million on its ICT Indaba held at the Cape Town Convention Centre from 4 to 7 June 2012. The newspaper then highlighted some irregularities regarding the finances at the event.
On 3 August 2012 the Department of Communications (DoC) released a statement saying that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the minister or the conference organisers.
However, DA shadow minister of communications, Marian Shinn, said that the statement from the DoC only added to the smokescreen that minister Pule tried to create to deflect attention on whether Mngqibisa benefitted improperly from the Indaba.
“The Department’s statement goes to great lengths to emphasise the fact that the Auditor General’s (AG’s) investigation into the matter has cleared the Minister of any wrongdoing.
“The scope of the AG’s investigation, however, was limited to focus on the payment of R10 million from the Department of Communications to the ICT Indaba to ensure that due process was followed by the department,” Shinn said.
Shinn today called for an urgent investigation into Pule. “In light of the latest revelations, the Public Protector should urgently consider investigating the conflict of interest of Communications Minister Dina Pule as I requested six weeks ago,” said Shinn in a press statement.
“The Public Protector promised to respond to me by the end of July and has not yet done so. I will write to her tomorrow requesting her to inform me of her decision.”
“If the Public Protector agrees to investigate Minister Pule’s conduct, this will be the second investigation I have initiated into the alleged irregularities surrounding the organisation and funding of the ICT Indaba,” said Shinn.
The DA MP added that Parliament’s Ethics and Members’ Interest committee has instigated a probe into Pule’s potential conflict of interest in this matter. It is expected that a date for a hearing will be announced soon.
“I trust that the Public Protector will take note of the latest revelations in the ICT Indaba saga and make an announcement soon as to whether she will institute an investigation,” said Shinn.