DA in push to declare Hlongwa unfit

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Copy of st file Hlongwa THE STAR ANC Gauteng chief whip Brian Hlongwa is challenging R1.4 bn fraud charges. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - The DA in Gauteng wants the legislature’s integrity commissioner to declare ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa unfit to hold public office.

The DA’s application was filed with Dr Ralph Mgijima on Wednesday.

The DA’s Jack Bloom claimed Hlongwa had breached various codes governing the behaviour of a public official.

In his complaint, he said Hlongwa had received various payments into his personal accounts, and a loan for his house and family trips from undeclared funders.

At the same time, Hlongwa was expected to file papers in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg on Thursday to challenge the R1.4 billion fraud and corruption charges brought against him by the National Prosecuting Authority. The charges were filed on July 21.

To support his application, Bloom supplied Mgijima with all the court documents filed in the high court.

“These are part of an application for an asset-forfeiture order for a property owned by Hlongwa at 163 Eccleston Crescent in Bryanston, Johannesburg, as well as the forfeiture of claims against the Gauteng Health Department by 3P Consulting (Pty) Ltd and the Baoki consortium.”

He said Hlongwa benefited from companies that were doing work for the Health Department but failed to declare this to the legislature.

“At no time did Mr Hlongwa declare to the Gauteng legislature the holiday to Cuba; payments towards his new house at Eccleston Crescent; various home renovations; rent-free accommodation; cash; spa treatments; or other benefits received from Mr Payne, Mr Smidek, Mr Pillay or their various entities,” Bloom said.

He said senior officials in the Health Department had also benefited and failed to declare this.

 

In his letter to Mgijima, Bloom lists Hlongwa’s alleged undeclared benefits, including the following:

* R1.5 million paid by Pillay to Brisgo Properties, a company 100 percent owned by Hlongwa and his wife, to pay towards the purchase of the Eccleston Cescent house.

* A further R2.6m paid by Payne and Pillay towards the Eccleston house. This was paid through the account of Hlongwa’s lawyer, a Mr Samuels.

* The purchase for R4.75m of Hlongwa’s previous house at College Drive in Bryanston by Kemsing Services (Pty) Ltd, a Cyprus-registered company owned by Smidek. It is alleged that “the timely sale of the College Drive property and the resultant access to the proceeds of the sale constituted a gratification as defined in the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act”.

* Free rental when he stayed at the College Drive house after it was sold, despite provision for occupational rental of R40 000 a month.

* Refurbishment of the College Drive house for a total amount of R216 540.37, allegedly paid for by Payne, Pillay and their entities.

* Payment of R1 563 674 from Kemsing on May 8, 2009 into Hlongwa’s personal account, purportedly for the purchase of furniture, but this was alleged to be “a cover-up for a cash gratification”.

* Payment for renovations to the Eccleston Crescent house totalling R1 444 382.89 from Pillay, Samuel and entities associated with Payne and Pillay.

* A trip to the Durban July Handicap for Hlongwa and his wife in 2008, including two nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel, paid for by Regiments.

 

Bloom said legislature members were required to declare their interests every year, and failure to do so was a breach of the Members Code of Conduct.

 

E-mailed questions were sent to Hlongwa, and the ANC in Gauteng and in the legislature. Spokesman Kgapa Mabusela said the matter had been sent to caucus chairman Sipho Makama.

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