Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance will lay criminal charges and lodge a complaint with the public protector against State Security Minister Bongani Bongo following further bribery allegations, the party said on Sunday.
The DA noted with concern the media reports that the newly appointed Bongo was to be investigated by parliament’s joint ethics committee for allegedly attempting to bribe the evidence leader of the parliamentary inquiry into state capture advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.
"In addition to the committee’s investigation we will be laying criminal charges of corruption against minister Bongo in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act... and will also be lodging a formal complaint with the public protector to investigate Bongo’s alleged violation of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.
"The latest allegations of corruption against Bongo suggest that he has tried to actively collapse the state capture inquiry by offering advocate Vanara a bribe to resign as evidence leader in the probe into allegations of state capture at Eskom," he said.
If proved to be true, these allegations served as the basis for criminal charges to be pursued and they further amounted to a gross violation of the provisions of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act and the associated Executive Ethics Code which, among others, prohibited ministers from using their position to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person, and required that ministers fulfill all obligations imposed upon them by the Constitution and law.
The latest raft of allegations further demonstrated a deeply concerning trend for Bongo and the beleaguered State Security Agency (SSA), Steenhuisen said.
Despite the fact that Bongo had only recently been appointed during President Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle on October 17, it had already emerged that he was currently under active investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for his alleged involvement in fraud and corruption while he served as the head of legal services in the Mpumalanga human settlements department in 2012.
The DA had already undertaken to submit parliamentary questions to ascertain if Bongo was properly vetted by the SSA prior to being appointed. "We will now escalate our efforts to ensure that credibility and the rule of law is returned to the operation of the SSA through criminal charges and our complaint to the public protector," Steenhuisen said.
Earlier, the Sunday Times reported that Bongo was accused of offering a bribe, in a form of “blank cheque”, to Vanara, who made the shocking allegation in a sworn statement submitted to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, the newspaper reported.
Mbete had referred the matter to parliament’s joint ethics committee for further investigation. Ethics committee co-chairperson Omie Singh was due to meet Vanara on Tuesday before tabling the matter at a full sitting of the committee which monitors the ethical conduct of MPs and cabinet ministers, the Sunday Times reported.