Former communications minister Dina Pule has been implicated in a plot to assassinate members of the parliamentary ethics committee, the Sunday Times reported.
According to the paper, a top-level police investigation is underway looking into claims made by a man who says he was hired by Pule’s boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, to arrange the murder of the committee’s chairman, Ben Turok, and registrar, Fazela Mohamed.
The committee’s report on Pule confirmed that the two members had received threats, and both Turok and Mohamed were appointed body guards.
The parliamentary ethics committee ruled on Wednesday (7 august) that Pule was guilty of misconduct and lying as she abused her position as communications minister to improperly benefit Mngqibisa – who was found to be her de facto permanent spouse.
According to the Sunday Times, the man who claims to have been hired to execute the assassination plan, came forward and confessed to parliament’s head of security.
The man also allegedly contacted the paper with information that could prove that Mngqibisa and Pule had called the hits to “give the accused (Pule and Mngqibisa) more time to come up with a solution for their issues with the ethics committee and Public Protector”.
According to the alleged conspirator, he was offered R400,000 by Mngqibisa to falsify documents proving he paid for his own trips with Pule – and he had the SMSes and e-mails to prove it.
He alleges further that, at a second meeting with Mngqibisa, he was asked to organise the murders – at which point he reconsidered his dealings with the former minister’s boyfriend.
“I might be doing something illegal in my line of duty, but killing a person is out of my league,” he told the paper.
The plot’s wheels came off when Pule was fired by president Jacob Zuma on 9 July, he said.
Pule could not be reached for comment, and Mngqibisa reportedly rubbished the claims, while the office of the national police commissioner (NPC) has neither confirmed nor denied that the couple are suspects in the ongoing case.
According to the NPC, the alleged co-conspirator has proven to be “uncooperative and not credible”, though they are continuing to assess the source and validity of the allegations.
The Sunday Times could not independently verify any of the recordings and documents he claimed to have.