Bloem corroborates Vytjie Mentor's version of events at state capture inquiry

2019-02-14 15:26
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor is supported by former ANC MP and current COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. (Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images)

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor is supported by former ANC MP and current COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. (Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images)

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Former ANC MP Dennis Bloem has told the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture that he never disclosed Vytjie Mentor's infamous "Saxonwold offer" until testifying before the inquiry.

"She said to me, 'Dennis, I am calling you because I trust you and I want to give you information regarding what happened to me'.

"She told me this information was confidential and I should not tell anyone as she would one day come out to the public and reveal it. I did exactly that," Bloem told the commission.

Bloem stayed true to this request.

"But then in 2016, when Mcebisi Jonas and Mentor went public with this information, it became a front-page story of the Sunday Times, I immediately went to the Brooklyn police station and opened a case of corruption and treason against former president Jacob Zuma and the Gupta brothers.

"I never once mentioned, even in my statement, that Mentor had once told me the information," he explained.

The former ANC MP was referring to Mentor's claims that she was allegedly offered the position of Minister of Public Enterprises in 2010 by Ajay Gupta.

Mentor claimed this proposition was made at the home shared by the Gupta brothers in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

ALSO READ: #StateCaptureInquiry: Mentor describes her encounter with Zuma at Gupta's Saxonwold home

Her evidence included a colourful description of the home she visited on Monday, October 15, 2010.

The in loco inspection conducted by the legal team and experts from the Department of Public Works on December 3, 2018, however paints a different picture.

Chief architect Erna Wiese told the commission that upon arrival at the said property, although she couldn't identify the home, Mentor immediately discounted property one and three. She eventually later discounted property seven, which led the team to property five.

"Ten steps were identified, not the five steps Ms Mentor indicated.

"She explained that the five or six steps, that she recollected, walked much more easily than the current 10 we were standing on," Wiese said.

While Mentor was adamant that the steps in question were made of white marble, the team on inspection found grey granite steps.

Upon entering the main door, the team could not find columns or a pillar as described in Mentor's evidence.

"Mentor couldn't find the pillar and remembered the space being much larger than it was, we could not find a place where the pillar could have been [if it was removed]," she explained.

Mentor, in her evidence, described using a guest bathroom with gold-plated features. The inspection however failed to locate this feature.

"We were expecting a gilded bathroom, but we found a fairly dated guest bathroom with hardly any gold finishes on it," Wiese said.

As a result, Mentor suggested that a team of specialists should be brought in to look at any possible changes at the home.

Another probe

Wiese agreed that for the commission to definitively identify if the features described by Mentor were at the home or not, a further probe would need to take place.

"What we are saying is that we have done a visual inspection, and in order to definitively identify the features you need more probing into the structure to see if the features were there or not.

"To prove beyond doubt that the features were in the house, a team of specialists must be appointed to do so," she concluded.

This could cost the commission R810 000 per month. This amount excludes the repairs that would need to be done to the home afterwards.

The commission was set to also hear evidence from Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride, but this was postponed to afford over 30 implicated persons the opportunity to respond.

The commission resumes on Monday, when witnesses from the National Treasury are expected to testify.

Read more on:    vytjie mentor  |  dennis bloem  |  raymond zondo  |  johannesburg  |  state capture inquiry  |  state capture  |  corruption
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