Inquiries into Pule must proceed with haste
Yet more revelations of alleged misspending of ICT Indaba sponsors' money have surfaced today. In light of these revelations, the Public Protector should urgently consider investigating the conflict of interest of Communications Minister Dina Pule as I requested six weeks ago.
The Public Protector promised to respond to me by the end of July and has not yet done so. I will write to her tomorrow requesting her to inform me of her decision.
Today's report in the Sunday Times that the ICT Indaba project management firm Carol Bouwer Productions has an invoice to prove that the expensive designer shoes the Minister wore to the event were paid for with sponsors' contributions is alarming. These allegations add to the growing evidence pointing to financial impropriety by Phosane Mngqibisa, the man reputed to be romantically linked to Minister Pule.
As these funds were solicited by, and paid to, a private firm that was contracted by the Department of Communications, the matter cannot be investigated by the Auditor General, or subjected to public scrutiny.
If the Public Protector agrees to investigate Minister Pule's conduct, this will be the second investigation I have initiated into the alleged irregularities surrounding the organisation and funding of the ICT Indaba.
Parliament's Ethics and Members' Interest committee has instigated a probe into Ms Pule's potential conflict of interest in this matter. It is expected that a date for a hearing will be announced soon.
I trust that the Public Protector will take note of the latest revelations in the ICT Indaba saga and make an announcement soon as to whether she will institute an investigation.
Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, September 2 2012
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