VBS scandal: Parliamentary committee awaits Shivambu's response to complaint

2018-10-19 22:10
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu (Thulani Mbele/Gallo Images)

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu (Thulani Mbele/Gallo Images)

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Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests is awaiting EFF chief whip and deputy president Floyd Shivambu's response to a complaint laid by the DA that he transgressed the legislature's rules on conflicts of interest in relation to the money his younger brother, Brian Shivambu, allegedly received from VBS Mutual Bank.

This response will determine whether the committee will proceed with an investigation into the EFF leader.

This follows last week's revelations of large-scale looting at VBS Mutual Bank in a report titled "The Great Bank Heist". The report, compiled by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys, was released last Wednesday.

READ: No disclosures by Floyd Shivambu in Parliament's registers of members' interests since 2014

In the report, the younger Shivambu was identified as one of those alleged to have received money from the bank in a "looting scheme" involving R1.8bn. He is said to have received R16m.

Then, on Thursday, the Daily Maverick reported that of that R16m, about R10m found its way to his older brother, and R1.33m to the EFF.

News24 reported on Friday that Floyd hadn't declared anything in Parliament's register of members' interests since he became an MP in 2014.

Allegations 'madness'

On Tuesday, the EFF had a press conference where Floyd and EFF president Julius Malema denied any impropriety and suggested there was a campaign to discredit them by a "rogue unit" led by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.

The EFF deputy president described the allegations that he received R10m from his brother as "insanity" and "madness".

The EFF did, however, reveal that there were payments between the Shivambu brothers.

READ:Malema - Linking EFF to VBS an attempt to weaken the party

On Monday DA MP and spokesperson on corruption Phumzile van Damme said she would lay a charge with the ethics committee against Floyd.

Van Damme said that if he indeed received payments from VBS, the payments were in contravention of the members' code of conduct because there was no indication that he declared the money in the 2015/2017 declaration of members' interests and payments in Parliament.

Van Damme's complaint to the ethics committee is also based on clause 5.2 of the parliamentary code of conduct, which "makes provision for a member, or their immediate family member to not accept any reward, benefit or gift from any person or body that creates a direct conflict or business interest for such member".

Lifestyle audit challenge

On Wednesday Van Damme received a response from the acting registrar of members' interests, advocate Anthea Gordon, which confirmed that "the matter is being attended to and you will be notified of the outcome of the investigation once the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests has decided on the matter".

On Friday co-chairperson of the ethics committee, Omie Singh, also confirmed that Van Damme's complaint was received and elaborated on the process to be followed in a statement.

"In terms of the code of ethical conduct and disclosure of members' interests, the process commences with informing the member of Parliament concerned of the complaint against him or her. Thereafter the member of Parliament is entitled to respond," Singh said.

"After this stage, the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests may decide to proceed with an investigation. Mr Shivambu was informed of the complaint against him on 17 October 2018 and his response is awaited. Once the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests has dealt with the complaint, the findings will be made known."

Van Damme also called on the Hawks to investigate the EFF deputy president and challenged him to undergo a lifestyle audit.

Read more on:    da  |  eff  |  floyd shivambu

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