Malema slams Public Protector’s investigation

2012-10-13 20:07

A war of words has broken out between Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Julius Malema’s lawyer.

It concerns the fact that Madonsela didn’t interview Malema during her investigation into a R53 million Limpopo roads and transport tender from which Malema indirectly benefited.

Following the release of her report On the Point of Tenders this week, Madonsela slammed Malema for claiming he did not have a fair chance to comment on her investigation. She went so far as to say that he was simply not telling the truth.

Madonsela found Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust was paid more than R2 million by On-Point Engineers – a company whose only business was from Limpopo government tenders.

Malema’s lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, says they were only given five days by Madonsela’s office to respond to a 140-page provisional report.

On Friday, Madonsela issued another statement, clarifying her interaction with Malema. She says she gave him a copy of her provisional report on July 30 and asked him to respond by August 13. The deadline was twice extended, first to August 31 and then to September 7.

Galaktiou wrote back to Madonsela, requesting that her client, Malema, be interviewed as part of the investigation.

On August 14 Madonsela indicated her willingness to interview Malema.

“Despite this, Mr Malema, through his attorney, replied on August 31 indicating that it does not make any sense that Mr Malema and the Ratanang Family Trust, being the centre of the investigation, were not interviewed or afforded an opportunity to put their version of events to the Public Protector,” said Madonsela in her statement.

“It was further stated that the Public Protector’s willingness to then conduct an interview with Mr Malema is belated and, in his view, superficial, and he does not accept the invitation to be interviewed at a very late stage.”

But Malema, through his lawyer, maintains Madonsela’s process was unfair to him and improper.

That’s why, Malema’s lawyer says, he declined to comment.

Madonsela says she “only interviews people as witnesses that can provide evidence she needs or as affected persons who need to be given an opportunity to refute something.

“The Public Protector did not think Mr Malema was either”.

Her final report reveals that Lesiba Gwangwa, Malema’s business partner and chief executive of On-Point Engineers, lied about the company’s personnel by using the credentials of “employees”, that were never part of the company, to win the tender.

Gwangwa said these “employees” denied being part of On-Point because the company “was in the media and a lot of people have been trying to get as far away from it as possible for reasons known to them”.

Asked by the Public Protector’s investigators why some of the people he claimed were part of On-Point Engineers’ management team said they were not, Gwangwa said: “It is perfectly clear that they are doing so because it has become politically unwise in the current temperature to admit to a link, direct or indirect, to Mr Julius Malema.”

Gwangwa also explained why he involved Malema in his companies.

“Mr Malema and I grew up together. He is a childhood friend of mine,” he told Madonsela.

“Mr Malema is an intelligent and resourceful person with many friends and acquaintances both here and internationally.

“His personal, friendly relationships with business leaders across the globe have made him into an invaluable asset for any business.”

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