Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics has found former minister of communications, Dina Pule, guilty of abusing her power.
The committee called a briefing in Parliament on Wednesday (7 August) to give its findings on allegations that Pule’s partner, Phosane Mngqibisa, benefitted from an ICT Indaba which was organised by her Department in 2012.
In a statement released by the DA, Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police said that the Ethics Committee, of which she is a member, found Pule guilty of “causing improper benefits to be afforded to Mr Phosane Mngqibisa on the basis of his relationship with her”.
Pule was dumped as communications minister in early July, as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
“The DA is pleased that the multiparty ethics committee was unanimous in its decision to impose the strictest possible penalties available to Parliament in this case,” the DA said in a statement.
The matter has now been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further investigation.
Kohler Barnard said that the members determined to impose the strictest penalties possible under the committee’s mandate.
The committee found:
- Pule wilfully misled the panel;
- caused improper benefits to be afforded to Mr Mngqibisa on the basis of his relationship with her; and
- breached the Executive Members Ethics Code.
The committee said that as a result of lengthy and detailed investigations, it found that Mr. Mngqibisa was the de facto permanent spouse of Pule, despite her constant denials
“Through that relationship Mr. Mngqibisa was able to obtain government funding for overseas trips… Mr. Mngqibisa was further able to obtain financial benefits for himself and his company Khemano as a result of his relationship,” Parliament said.
“We rejected her evidence as untrustworthy and determined that she be issued with a reprimand, fined 30 days’ salary, and be suspended from Parliament for 15 days,” Kohler Barnard said.
Further, Kohler Barnard said that the DoC was severely criticised, as were several of the officials who worked there and who failed to appear before the committee.
The MP noted that the officials submitted incomplete information in relation to the number of trips taken, and claimed that documents requested by the panel had “disappeared”.
Pule meanwhile has been appointed to the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCT) for the African National Congress (ANC).