Lynne Brown appears to have misled parliament – Natasha Mazzone

DA MP says Trillian had invoiced Eskom for R266m at a time minister was claiming there was no deal between the two

DA refers Lynne Brown to Ethics Committee for misleading Parliament

The DA will today submit a formal complaint to the Parliamentary Ethics Committee against Public Enterprises Minister, Lynne Brown, for allegedly misleading Parliament, when she failed to disclose if there had been any contracts of engagement between Eskom and Trillian, a Gupta-linked company.

In response to a DA parliamentary question (PQ), Minister Brown stated that no agreement existed between Eskom and Trillian. However, AmaBhungane, has established that either Trillian or its subsidiary companies had, at the time of the reply, already invoiced Eskom for R266 million.

This means that the Minister may not have been truthful in her reply to the PQ, which would be a breach of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests.

According to Section 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 of the Code, Members “must act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them” and “discharge their obligations, in terms of the Constitution, to Parliament and the public at large, by placing the public interests above their own interest…”.

If these allegations are true, it would indicate that the Minister is seemingly part of the Zuma-Gupta self-enrichment cartel currently operating at Eskom. We are led to ask if Minister Brown has been put in her position to further the Guptas nuclear interests - which would be a further contravention of the Code.

The DA has already referred these allegations to the Public Protector, to ensure that the matter is investigated.

Minister Brown has today also bunked out of accounting to Parliament on the Brian Molefe fiasco, by raising a legally inadequate argument of the matter being sub judice. What Brown clearly overlooks is that the Nkandla judgement places Parliament under a positive obligation to hold the Executive to account for executive actions and decisions, with which the sub judice rule cannot compete. The rule is, by the admission of Parliament's own Chief Legal Advisor "archaic" and only applicable if the committee was intending to reflect on the merits of a case before court, which Brown accounting to Parliament would not do.

By allowing Brown to hide behind the sub judice rule to escape appearing before an extraordinary sitting of the committee today, Parliament has failed in this obligation and has let Brown off the hook for now.

The DA, therefore, calls on the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the Leader of Government Business, to instruct Brown to appear at the next sitting of the Portfolio Committee, and to ensure that Brown submits herself to a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry into the state of Eskom and the return of Brian Molefe as CEO.

I will write to Ramaphosa today, urging him to ensure that Brown submits herself to a full-scale inquiry - it is his responsibility as Leader of Government Business to do so.

The DA will make use of every possible avenue to ensure that Minister Brown is held to account for any discrepancies regarding Trillian and the return of Brian Molefe.

Our state-owned enterprises are in crises because of a failing Minister and her skewed interests.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the ANC government can no longer govern our country in the interest of our people and that the DA is the only alternative to this captured ANC-government.

Statement issued by Natasha Mazzone MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 19 May 2017