3 ministers found to have lied for the Guptas over the past 2 weeks

2018-02-23 19:46
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba  (Roger Bosch, AFP)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba (Roger Bosch, AFP)

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Cape Town – Des van Rooyen, Malusi Gigaba and now Lynne Brown – these Cabinet members have been found to have lied in the past 14 days. And there is a thread that binds their lies – the Guptas.

The Honourable Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen

On Friday, February 9, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane published a report which found that Van Rooyen misled Parliament.

In a reply to a parliamentary question posed by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen in 2016 about whether he had ever met with the Guptas, Van Rooyen said: "The minister and his deputy ministers have never met with members, employees and/or close associates of the Gupta family in their official capacities."

DA MP Kevin Mileham, who once called Van Rooyen a two-minute noodle during a parliamentary sitting, filed a complaint with the Public Protector, alleging that Van Rooyen misled Parliament and thereby transgressed the executive ethics code.

READ: Des van Rooyen denies misleading Parliament

Mileham made reference to reports that Van Rooyen visited the Gupta home in Saxonwold several times in December 2015, shortly before his short-lived tenure as finance minister.  

During the Public Protector's investigation, Van Rooyen admitted that he met with the Guptas, saying he did so in his capacity as the treasurer-general of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association.

Mkhwebane found that Mileham's complaints were substantiated and prescribed that the president must take "appropriate action" against Van Rooyen for violating the Executive Ethics Act and the Constitution.

Van Rooyen denied that he misled Parliament, arguing that he confined his answer to his capacity as the minister of finance, but Mkhwebane dismissed this argument, saying there was nothing in Steenhuisen's question that referred to him meeting the Guptas in his capacity as a minister. 

The Honourable Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba

On Wednesday, shortly before Gigaba had to table his first Budget in Parliament, a court judgment made in December surfaced wherein the court found that Gigaba "deliberately told untruths under oath". The court also found that Gigaba violated the Constitution. 

The judgment follows a court battle launched by Fireblade Aviation, owned by the wealthy Oppenheimer family, in November 2016 against the Department of Home Affairs and others. 

READ: Court finds Gigaba lied under oath

The application sought to have the court declare that approval for a terminal at OR Tambo International Airport – allegedly granted by Gigaba in early 2016 while he was still minister of home affairs – could not be revoked. 

It is alleged that Gigaba revoked the approval he originally granted under pressure from the Guptas.

The DA laid a formal complaint with Mkhwebane earlier on Wednesday, requesting her to probe Gigaba for allegedly lying under oath during court proceedings and violating the Constitution during his tenure as minister of home affairs.

Steenhuisen also tried to bring a substantive motion against Gigaba before he proceeded with his Budget Speech, but National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete didn't allow it.

Throughout the speech, DA MPs, with Steenhuisen leading the charge, hissed that they didn't believe Gigaba.

The Honourable Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown

On Thursday, Mkhwebane released a report which found that Brown "inadvertently" misled the National Assembly when she denied there were engagements between power utility Eskom and the Gupta-linked company Trillian Capital Partners in answer to a parliamentary question from the DA.

The DA alleged that Brown had failed to disclose that there were in fact "contracts of engagement" between Eskom and Trillian and laid a complaint with Mkhwebane. 

READ: Public Protector finds Brown 'inadvertently' misled Parliament about Eskom-Trillian

In response to Mkhwebane's report, Brown said she was lied to by Eskom officials.

"According to the information the minister received from Eskom in response to the question, signed off by the chief financial officer on behalf of the chief executive officer, no payments were made," reads a statement by Brown. 

"The minister relayed this information to Parliament, but it subsequently emerged that Eskom had indeed made payments to Trillian."

Brown said she had informed Parliament's ethics committee which executives had lied to her.

Mkhwebane prescribed that the president takes "appropriate" action against her.

ALSO READ: The Guptas' Saxonwold-lite home in Cape Town seems to be heavy on water

Read more on:    lynn brown  |  malusi gigaba  |  des van rooyen  |  guptas  |  parliament

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