Parliament suspends Pule
Former Communication Minister Dina Pule has been Suspended for 15 days in parliament and fined a month’s salary by the parliament’s Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee has recommended the maximum penalty allowed in the Joint Rules of Parliament and that Pule must also submit full details in respect of non-disclosure and correct the incomplete declaration for the respective years.
Dina Pule was axed as the minister of communication in the latest cabinet reshuffle announced by President Jacob Zuma recently.
Professor Ben Turok Member of Parliament to the National Assembly presented the report of the Joint Committee on Ethics on the investigation of allegations against former minister of Communications Dina Pule.
Turok stated that “The central issue in the case was the relationship of Pule with Mngqibisa and how her public office was used to benefit him improperly”.
The allegations against Pule related to the non-disclosure of the financial interests of Pule’s companion P. Mngqibisa. Mngqibisa benefited from various privileges during his association with Pule including gaining material financial and business benefits in the context of the ICT Indaba organised by the DOC
According to the report Pule and Mngqibisa went on a number of trips to several countries together. “Evidence emerged during the hearings that Pule and Mngqibisa had travelled together to several foreign destinations such as Mexico, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Prague. They shared road transport and they shared hotel accommodation. The Panel obtained proof that at least one of these trips was paid for by the Department of Communications and Mngqibisa was listed for purposes of that trip as Pule’s “spouse”.
The former minister was investigated by both the public protector and parliament’s joint committee on Ethics and members interests. In June last year, a national newspaper reported that a man she was romantically linked to, Phosane Mngqibisa, drew millions in sponsorship fees for the ICT Indaba from the account of the event organiser. According to the paper, R25.7 million was paid in sponsorship fees by Vodacom, MTN and Telkom. The paper alleges millions from the fees were irregularly withdrawn by Mngqibisa.
Other issues that have been highlighted in the ethics report are that Mngqibisa was able to positions himself in a manner that he quickly moved up the ranks. “More seriously, Pule seems to have been instrumental in enabling Mngqibisa to advance from being a minor player to a dominant position in the ICT Indaba. He not only gained R6 million for his company Khemano but he steadily positioned himself to become the main player with prospects of further substantial gains. None of this was declared” Turok concludes.