Parliament clears MP in Pule ethics matter

DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard has been cleared of “breaching confidentiality” related to misconduct hearings against former communications minister Dina Pule.

Parliament’s ethics committee confirmed this on Thursday after weighing claims that Kohler-Barnard had posted regular updates on her Facebook page during the hearings.

The African National Congress alleged the information was published in The Post newspaper in August.

The parliamentary code of conduct enjoins all MPs and staff serving on the committee to take an oath of confidentiality.

The committee said in a statement: “[We] considered the matter and dismissed the allegations against Ms Kohler-Barnard.”

The committee agreed to refer the Post newspaper to the Press Ombudsman for publishing misleading information which could negatively impact on Kohler-Barnard’s reputation.

On August 22, ANC chief whip Stone Sizani accused Kohler-Barnard of “violating her oath of confidentiality”.

Sizani said by “disclosing information pertaining to the proceedings of the confidential hearing on social media, Ms Kohler-Barnard violated the ethics code, undermined the integrity of the process and brought the institution into disrepute”.

He had asked the Speaker’s office to “investigate the MP’s improper conduct, penalise her and remove her from the ethics committee”.

The Democratic Alliance later demanded an apology from Sizani, which was not forthcoming.

Kohler-Barnard had also threatened Sizani with legal action.

The DA MP was on the committee which recommended that Pule be suspended by Parliament for the scandal that saw her boyfriend benefit from state funding.

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Parliament clears MP in Pule ethics matter