Monday, August 21, 2017

Possible criminal charges after parliament reports finds Faith Muthambi, James Aguma, Ben Ngubane, Mbulaheni Maguvhe allegedly lied in SABC inquiry.

Possible criminal charges could be coming for minister Faith Muthambi, James Aguma, Ben Ngubane, Mbulaheni Maguvhe and former SABC company secretary Theresa Geldenhuys who allegedly lied during the SABC inquiry by parlement.

A parliamentary report has found that these 5 witnesses in parliament's SABC inquiry into maladministration, corruption, and mismanagement at the troubled South African Broadcasting Corporation may have deliberately misled the South African parliament's ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC rot.

The National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete finally quietly tabled the report that she has kept hidden for months amidst calls for it to be made public who parliament found may have lied during the inquiry.

Faith Muthambi, then the minister of communications - now the public service and administration minister - could face a charge of contempt and abuse of parliamentary privilege that is punishable by a fine or a prison term not exceeding 12 months or both.

The same goes for the other 4 with the controversial Ben Ngubane and Mbulaheni Maguvhe who served as former SABC board members and James Aguma who quit as acting SABC CEO.

The report by parliament's legal services division found that Faith Muthambi's testimony regarding the appointment of the controversial and now fired executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng "does not align with the content of minutes of the SABC board meetings".

"To this end the testimony proffered by the then-minister of communications could be seen as an attempt to misled the enquiry."

The report found that the controversial Mbulaheni Maguvhe likely misled parliament when he claimed ignorance of the shocking labour dispute involving the so-called "SABC8" SABC News journalists who were fired after they voiced concern over the Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abruptly introduced SABC News censorship policy.

The parliamentary report found that the controversial Ben Ngubane misled parliament in his testimony on the massive amounts the SABC had been paying to produce The New Age Breakfast Briefings broadcast on SABC2's Morning Live.

"The testimony offered by Ben Ngubane could be seen as an attempt to mislead the inquiry and that false information was presented to the inquiry," parliament's report states.

The parliamentary report found that the controversial and now gone James Aguma might have provided the inquiry with an email which "purports to lack authenticity as being that generated by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)."

"In order to establish this fact conclusively, further investigation needs to be undertaken to ascertain whether the email was generated by the CIPC".

The parliamentary report found that Theresa Geldenhuys refused to provide parliament's ad hoc committee with requested documents, citing that they were "commercially sensitive" - only for the documents to be provided later, and being proven to not be commercially sensitive. 

Theresa Geldenhuys also failed "to inform the committee that she was no longer the company secretary which could be considered as an attempt to mislead the inquiry".

Parliament's legal services division recommended that the 5 people be investigated for misleading parliament.

In a statement, Phumzile van Damme, a member of parliament (MP) of the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party, says that "now that the speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete has finally tabled the report from parliament's legal services unit identifying those who misled or lied to the SABC ad hoc committee, she must ensure that criminal charges are laid against them."

"The recommendation in the report of the ad hoc committee on the SABC inquiry was that parliament itself lay charges against the individuals who misled the committee."

"Although the DA welcomes the tabling of this report, the reality is that it is almost 12 weeks overdue and has been sitting on the speaker's desk since 5 June."