Malema is lying, Madonsela says

2012-10-12 16:03
Julius Malema (Picture: AP)

Julius Malema (Picture: AP) (Julius Malema)

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Cape Town - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Friday rejected Julius Malema's claim that she failed to give him the right to reply in her probe into suspected tender fraud in Limpopo.

"Mr Malema is not telling the truth," Madonsela told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice.

She was asked by an ANC MP about a complaint by the party's expelled youth leader that he was "found guilty in absentia".

Madonsela said she had not only sent Malema a copy of her preliminary findings, as is her custom with anybody at risk of an adverse finding, but had also given him an opportunity to be interviewed.

He replied in writing and in the negative, Madonsela said, adding that she was shocked, therefore, to hear his allegation.

"He responded in writing to say he would not like to be interviewed."

Madonsela gently mocked Malema for making public the fact that he was given a copy of her preliminary report while she kept silent about it so as not to prejudice his rights.

"The interesting thing is that Mr Malema is the one who has been telling people that he got this report," she said.

"I remember being interviewed by the BBC, I remember being interviewed by various news agencies and refusing to indicate whether or not he got the report, because for me that would be disclosing who in the report I am intending making adverse findings against.

"Mr Malema told the whole world he got the provisional report."

Madonsela said Malema complained to her around mid-August that he had not been interviewed as part of the investigation.

She wrote back to his lawyers within a day that the point of such an interview would be to allow Malema to give any additional information that would "prevent the adverse findings".

Malema then responded two weeks later that he was not available to be interviewed, she said.

Madonsela said her investigation and report focused on the R50m contract awarded to On-Point Engineers by the Limpopo roads and transport department, and not on Malema.

Her final report released this week found that there had been a complete failure to vet the company, which had been only a month old at the time of tender, and that its bid was "a deliberate and fraudulent misrepresentation".

Madonsela confirmed on Friday that she had formally referred the matter to the Hawks for investigation and recommended that criminal charges be brought.

Explaining her dealings with Malema under further questioning from the ANC, Madonsela said her probe led to him via a bank payment from On-Point to the Ratanang Family Trust, which belonged to Malema's family.

"The other thing to be noted is that in this report there isn't anything that speaks to Mr Malema specifically.

"The report talks to the Ratanang Family Trust having received more than R2.17m, the report also talks to a Ratanang farm having been bought.

"All of that information was not coming from interviews, it wasn't something that could be refuted by someone, it came from bank statements submitted to us by the sole director of On-Point."

She said she made no finding on whether the payment was improper, instead she simply stated irrefutable proof that the funds came from On-Point, who had obtained the money unlawfully from a rigged tender.

The statements showed that money flowed to the Ratanang Trust, the Ratanang farm, and "the Sundowns property".

This was not something Malema could prove otherwise in any interview, she added.

- SAPA
Read more on:    on-point engineers  |  julius malema  |  thuli madonsela  |  polokwane  |  corruption  |  tenders
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