’You let Bongo be excoriated by the media’: Defence pummels senior parly manager
Cape Town - As the case of ANC MP and former State Security minister Bongani Bongo, who is charged with attempting to bribe a senior parliamentary official, resumed, the defence tried to establish that there was a political scheme against Bongo.
Bongo’s advocate, Mike Hellens SC, continued his cross- examination of Parliament’s former senior manager in charge of legal and constitutional services, Ntuthuzelo Vanara on Tuesday morning.
“You laid a complaint on October 26 and it started a political furore. It was raised in the House, the media got hold of it and a political frenzy boiled,” said Hellens.
“You sat back and let Bongo be excoriated by the media. Had you reported the matter to the Hawks it would have brought matters to a head. I put it to you, your move was political and you wanted to cause political trouble. You laid a political complaint and you are trying to tar Mr Bongo.”
Vanara said: “I refute that. I had no political, personal or financial interest in implicating Mr Bongo in anything.”
The defence said that Vanara and Disang Mocumi, who was the secretary of Parliament’s portfolio committee inquiring into state-owned enterprises and Eskom, where Vanara was evidence leader, had used disparaging language when speaking about Bongo, and had called him “a little boy”.
Vanara denied that the conversation ever took place and said: “Had anyone referred to an adult in such a manner I would have reprimanded them.”
After Vanara was stood down, Mocumi took the stand as the prosecution’s second witness and in his evidence appeared to contradict the apparent sequence of events surrounding an alleged phone call to Vanara from Bongo.
In Vanara’s testimony, he said he had discussed Bongo’s interest in the portfolio committee with Mocumi before receiving a phone call from Bongo; however, Mocumi said it had happened the other way around, that the discussion came after the phone call.
Hellens said: “Both of you can’t be right. The court relies on truthful witnesses. You haven’t synced your stories.”
Mocumi said: “I have given the evidence of what I know transpired.”
The case continues in the Western Cape High Court.