The case of bribery against State Security Minister Bongani Bongo has been taken over by the anticorruption task team led by the Hawks.
The team, which includes the special investigative unit, were investigating an allegation that Bongo attempted to bribe an evidence leader in the parliamentary probe into allegations of state capture at state utility Eskom.
Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara alleged in an affidavit seen by The Sunday Times that Bongo claimed he was instructed by acting Eskom board chair Zethembe Khoza to offer a bribe to Vanara.
The Citizen understands the Hawks were investigating several suspects in the case.
Vanara, a senior parliamentary law advisor, suggests Bongo had approached him with a bribe to step down as inquiry evidence leader.
Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma issued a statement saying he was looking into allegations of “interference” by Bongo.
“The Presidency wishes to confirm that President Jacob Zuma met with the speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete, who briefed him on the allegations of interference by the Minister of State Security, Mr Bongani Bongo, in the parliamentary inquiry by the public enterprises committee on the affairs of Eskom,” Zuma’s office said.
Helen Suzman Foundation CEO Francis Antonie said the allegations put Zuma in a compromised position.
Bongo was appointed in his portfolio following a controversial reshuffle that opposition parties labelled a tactical move by Zuma to secure a proposed nuclear build programme.
Antonie said that if Zuma failed to act decisively on Bongo and any other suspects, he would be seen to be complicit in the allegations of bribery.
“This is something the National Prosecuting Authority must immediately look into if there is any evidence that [Bongo] did behave in this way. It is totally unacceptable and it means the executive is undermining the integrity of legislature,” said Antonie.
Last week, the Democratic Alliance laid charges of corruption against Bongo and on Sunday indicated it would write to Mbete demanding protection for both members of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, as well as the witnesses appearing before the Eskom inquiry.
The matter has also been referred to parliament’s ethics committee.