NEWS & ANALYSIS

Nombembe too compromised for State Capture inquiry - EFF

Fighters say they stand by their objections to appointment of lead investigator

EFF STANDS BY ITS OBJECTION TO THE APPOINTMENT OF NOMBEMBE AS INVESTIGATOR IN STATE CAPTURE

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The EFF stands by its objection to the appointment of Terence Nombembe as lead investigator in the State Capture Commission of Inquiry. The EFF wrote to Deputy Chief Justice Zondo in good faith to appeal to his sense of desire for a proper judicial process in the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. The EFF did not make the objection of the appointment of Nombembe likely, but it is based on sound and concrete links Nombembe has with a number of key individuals alleged to have played a key role in state capture, who he is now expected to investigate.

While our utmost concern was the fact that the South Africa Institute of Charted Accountants (SAICA), in particular under the leadership of Terence Nombembe, had a link and received a donation from Trillian. Which in itself is sufficient for Nombembe to recuse himself from the process. Nombembe relationship with Zuma while he was the Auditor-General of South Africa is another serious red flag that cannot be ignored. Zuma approved Nombembe salary increase to R2.6 million from R1.7 million, backed dated from 2006 December on the eve of the release of Nkandla saga when it was a foregone conclusion that Nombembe was going to investigate Nkandla. The salary increase gave Nombembe a cash playout of R6.5 million immediately without substantive financial reason to rationalize such profligacy except to buy his favour as his office was going to investigate Nkandla matter.

When the story about the improper use of state resources which involved former Premier Ace Magashule around the Gupta wedding after millions meant to finance development of black farmers at Estina dairy farm in the Free State was first reported in May 2013. Nombembe agreed to conduct a full probe into the Gupta. However, his office never conducted any investigation or release any report with conclusive findings. Instead Magashule who is implicated in the Estina dairy farm corruption threw a party for Nombembe as the out-going Auditor-General at the Emoya Estate in Bloemfontein. At the party, then Agriculture MEC Mamiki Qabathe said the provincial government appreciate the assistance received from Nombembe and went on to say he always took time out to come to the Free State, actively guide them on how to do things. This happened at the same time when the department was scrambling to hide evidence of corruption of the Estina dairy farm, which is part of the inquiry must also investigate.

State capture stated while Nombembe was in office as auditor-general, and all those times his office never raised any red flag or point to the links that were evident about the involvement of the Guptas in irregular appointment of board members or awarding of tenders. In fact, the EFF strongly believe that given the fact that Nombembe as the CEO of SAICA, with auditors implicated in corruption perpetuated in state capture, many who remain members of his organization, he is much more seriously conflicted than we initially anticipated. We maintain that he is not suitable to carry out the role of Head of Investigation.

In the interest of proper judicial process, proper investigation and fair opportunity for all affected parties, we call on the Deputy Chief Justice to reconsider his decision. We maintain that all those who are conflicted, whether actual or perceived, should recuse themselves from the inquiry. The continued presence of Nombembe who the EFF intend to call as a witness in future will leave us with no option but to approach the courts for the removal of Nombembe from the Inquiry, and be left with no choice but to suspect the Inquiry is just a whitewash meant to bury the ANC complacency in the whole state of capture inquiry.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 12 April 2018