- ANC MP Bongani Bongo has been acquitted of corruption charges.
- The charges emanated from an accusation that Bongo had tried to bribe a parliamentary official to collapse a 2017 inquiry into Eskom.
- The National Prosecuting Authority says it will study the judgment before deciding on a way forward.
ANC MP Bongani Bongo has succeeded in having the corruption case against him dismissed in the Western Cape High Court.
In reaction, Bongo said it was a political "gimmick" from the start.
On Friday, Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe granted Bongo's Section 174 application to have the case dismissed based on evidence presented, and acquitted him of the charges.
Bongo maintained his innocence and denied an accusation that he had tried to disrupt a parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom on 10 October 2017 by allegedly trying to bribe Ntuthuzelo Vanara, evidence leader at the Eskom inquiry.
In his initial affidavit, Vanara claimed Bongo had asked him to fake an illness and take sick leave because the inquiry would not have proceeded in his absence.
Hlophe said Vanara, the State's star witness, was not credible in "some respects".
"The evidence does not corroborate. There are serious contradictions. The application cannot be refused hoping that the accused [Bongo] will incriminate himself. [Other witnesses] can only attest to what Mr Vanara had told them. His credibility has been placed in question as witness testimonies are clashing," Hlophe said.
In 2017, former president Jacob Zuma announced an inquiry into the power utility following several allegations of corruption.
In his initial affidavit, Vanara claimed Bongo had offered him a cash bribe. All Vanara allegedly had to do was "name the price" and explain to Bongo how he would help to stop the inquiry. Bongo would, in turn, go back to the "Eskom people" and explain Vanara's plan to stop the inquiry and the price they would have to pay for his (Vanara's) assistance.
Money would then be given to Bongo, who would hand it over to Vanara, the State alleged.
On Wednesday, the court heard a Section 174 application to dismiss the case, based on the evidence presented so far.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it took note of the decision and would study the judgment before considering its options.
#BonganiBongo has been acquitted of the corruption charges emanating from an accusation that he tried to bribe a parliamentary official to collapse a 2017 inquiry into Eskom. His supporters, among them Malusi Gigaba, gathered outside the Cape High Court. @News24 @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/gJBsKZTfxm— JasonFelix (@JasonFelix) February 26, 2021