Bongani Bongo to make representations in corruption case - NPA

2019-11-21 14:16
ANC MP and former minister Bongani Bongo with former president Jacob Zuma. (The Presidency)

ANC MP and former minister Bongani Bongo with former president Jacob Zuma. (The Presidency)

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Former minister and ANC MP Bongani Bongo intends to make representations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in a case in which he is accused of trying to bribe an evidence leader of Parliament's inquiry into Eskom.

"The investigation in the matter is finalised and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the Western Cape, advocate Rodney de Kock, has decided to try [him] in the Western Cape High Court," said NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

"The State is in a position to postpone for a high court date but the defence indicated that they wish to make representations to the [DPP] for a review of the decision to prosecute," he said.

Bongo was arrested on Thursday morning and made a quick appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on a charge of corruption.

He was granted R5 000 bail. He was released on condition that he makes no contact with witnesses and give two weeks' notice via telephone call, email or WhatsApp if he intends to travel. The investigating officer must respond within 24 hours to acknowledge receipt of the request.

READ MORE: Former minister and ANC MP Bongani Bongo granted R5000 bail in corruption case

Bongo, a former state security minister, currently serves as an MP for the ANC and was elected chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs in July.

The NPA said the matter dated back to 2017 after advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara was appointed evidence leader of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises' inquiry into the governance, procurement and financial sustainability of Eskom. 

The report itself noted that the committee was set up following concerns over the power company's sustainability, and allegations in the #GuptaLeaks e-mails.

The committee noted in its report that it had worked under "hostile" conditions with people trying to subvert or smear its work.

This included car tampering, threats to personal security, delays, people not appearing as expected and even going so far as approaching the child of a committee member.

"Attempts were allegedly also made by the erstwhile State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to offer a bribe to advocate Vanara with a blank cheque to try to derail the work of this committee," it alleged.

The matter was referred to Parliament's ethics committee, and DA MP John Steenhuisen opened a corruption complaint regarding it in 2017.

In a statement after Bongo's court appearance, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said: "Bongo, who was the Minister of State Security at the time, allegedly approached an advocate within the commission, who was an evidence leader, to take sick leave on the day of the commencement of the [inquiry] with a view to derail the proceedings."

The NPA said: "Adv Vanara refused the offer and reported the accused's conduct."

The NPA allows representations to be made if people do not think the State has a strong enough case, or to pose other circumstances for consideration before going to trial.

High-profile users of this process include former president Jacob Zuma and Fees Must Fall activist Masixole Mlandu.

Read more on:    npa  |  bongani bongo  |  cape town  |  corruption  |  crime

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