Public Protector to probe Pule
Protector agrees to a Democratic Alliance request to institute a probe into a possible conflict of interest involving the minister of communications.
The Public Protector will investigate the possible conflict of interest involving communications minister Dina Pule and the recent ICT Indaba held in Cape Town, Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn said on Monday.
Shinn said this would “supplement the enquiry we instigated via parliament’s ethics and members’ interest committee for a probe into the ethical issues of Pule’s conduct in the outsourcing of the organisation of the event held in Cape Town in June to a company through which her romantic partner, Phosane Mngqibisa, has a financial interest.”
Mngqibisa has been accused of withdrawing funds earmarked for the indaba and of using R100 000 of the money to pay for a trip to Barcelona, where he allegedly purchased a pair of French designer shoes for Pule, which she wore to the Cape Town event. Vodacom, MTN and Telkom together donated millions of rand to help the department of communications stage the indaba.
“The fallout of how R25,7m was raised from sponsors for the event and was seemingly withdrawn from the event project manager Carol Bouwer’s business bank account by Mngqibisa has been the focus of media attention since mid-June,” Shinn said in a statement about the Public Protector’s decision to probe the matter.
“The Public Protector’s investigation will hopefully lift the lid on the extent of Pule’s knowledge and influence over the organisation of the ICT Indaba, the appointment of Mngqibisa as an associate to Bouwer for the event, and any financial gain he may have made from event sponsors. We need to know whether the minister abused her position of authority over companies in the ICT industry to enrich a close personal friend.”
Late on Monday evening, Pule reacted to news of the pending probe, saying she welcomed the Public Protector’s decision to investigate possible conflict of interest involving her in relation to the hosting of the ICT Indaba.
She said she had instructed her staff to “cooperate fully” with the Public Protector, as they had done when they were dealing with the office of the auditor-general.
Pule said she was convinced there was “no wrongdoing on her part as the report of the auditor-general had found”. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media