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Protector to probe Pule indaba role

Sep 10 2012 18:52 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The public protector has decided to investigate a possible conflict of interest relating to Communications Minister Dina Pule and the ICT Indaba, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.

"We need to know whether the minister abused her position of authority over companies in the ICT industry to enrich a close personal friend," DA MP Marian Shinn said in a statement.

The probe followed a Sunday Times report on the organisation of the event and the financial involvement of Pule's "romantic partner" Phosane Mngqibisa.

Confirmation from the public protector's office could not be immediately obtained.

The DA said the protector's probe would supplement an inquiry it instigated via Parliament's ethics and members' interests committee for a probe into Pule's outsourcing of the event.

"The fallout of how R25.7m was raised from sponsors for the event and was seemingly withdrawn from the event's project manager Carol Bouwer's business bank account by Mr Mngqibisa has been the focus of media attention since mid-June," said Shinn.

"There are almost weekly revelations of how money has been spent lavishly on items and trips that have tenuous links to the ICT Indaba and more to do with a jet-setting lifestyle."

The protector's investigation would hopefully shed light on Pule's knowledge and influence over the organisation of the indaba, the appointment of Mngqibisa as an associate to Bouwer for the event, and any financial gain he may have made from event sponsors.

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