ATC231002: Report of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests on the Complaint against Honourable Julius Malema, MP
Report of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests on the Complaint against Honourable Julius Malema, MP
The Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests (“the Committee”) having considered the complaint against Hon. J.S. Malema, reports as follows:
On 18 October 2019 Honourable Steenhuisen, MP (“the Complainant”) of the Democratic Alliance (“DA”) referred a complaint to the Committee. The complaint is directed against Honourable J.S. Malema, MP (“the Member”) of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for an alleged breach of the Code on Ethical Conduct and Members’ Interests (“the Code”). The content of the complaint relates to the Venda Mutual Bank (VBS) scandal.
SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINT
- The Complainant refers to a media report in the Daily Maverick dated 8 September 2019 which alleges that the Member:
- benefited from VBS funds through Mahuna Investments;
- did not disclose the benefit in his 2017 and 2018 declaration of interests;
- utilised the life savings of vulnerable VBS depositors and municipalities to fund his extravagant lifestyle, business interests and political aspirations;
- utilised about R4.13m which was paid to the EFF from an illegal sum of R16.1m that was part of the illegitimate Sgameka Projects Company;
- was involved in a scheme to mask the origin and ultimate beneficiaries of these funds;
- failed to disclose these alleged connections with Mahuna Investments and subsequently misled Parliament to believe that he in fact was not connected to Mahuna Investments.
RESPONSE BY THE MEMBER
- The Acting Registrar of the Members’ Interests (“the Acting Registrar) wrote to the Member on 21 October 2019 and requested a reply. On 21 October 2019 the Member addressed an e-mail to the Acting Registrar. The e-mail reflects the following:
“This correspondence serves as both my acknowledgement of your letter and my official response.
I think the letter is misdirected because I’ve nothing to do with the company in question. Next time come with something solid and not this newspaper junk.
I’ve nothing to do with all this nonsense.”
PROCESS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE
3. The Committee resolved to summon the Liquidator in the VBS matter to furnish it with a report (the Report”) on the movement of money in the VBS scandal. The Report was presented to the Committee on 23 August 2021. In terms of the Report, Sgameka Projects Pty Ltd (“Sgameka”) paid R4 803 180.00 into an ABSA bank account of Mahuna Investments (“Mahuna”). The Sgameka account was identified by the Liquidator as the account into which money from the VBS was paid and then transferred out into other bank accounts held by both natural and juristic persons.
4. In terms of the Report, the Member did not hold a bank account with the VBS. The Report also indicates that no money was transferred from the Sgameka bank account to the Member. There is no reference in the Report to any account held by the Member that may implicate him in the VBS scandal.
5. The Report focussed on the movement of money within various accounts held at the VBS and the movement of money from VBS held bank accounts to bank accounts held at other retail banks. As money was identified as being moved from Sgameka to an ABSA bank account of Mahuna the Committee decided to follow up on the movement of money from the ABSA bank account of Mahuna to ascertain whether money was paid from the ABSA bank account of Mahuna to the Member.
6. The Liquidator did not have jurisdiction over the bank account of Mahuna held at ABSA bank and therefore could not provide any evidence on whether the Member received money through the ABSA held bank account of Mahuna.
7. The Committee resolved to summon the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to obtain financial intelligence on whether the Member received money through the ABSA bank account of Mahuna. The FIC held the view that in terms of section 40 the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, No. 38 of 2001 it would be unlawful for it to provide the Committee with financial intelligence. The Committee was in the process of invoking section 14 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 4 of 2004 against the FIC, but after receiving legal advice, did not proceed with the issuing of the summons.
8. The Committee noted that section 40 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act prevented the Committee from pursuing the allegations further. To this end, the Committee investigation is inconclusive.
9. The Committee could not make a finding of breach or no breach, because it was not in possession of sufficient information to make a finding.
10. The Committee decided to close the file in the matter.
REPORTED FOR INFORMATION
THE CO-CHAIRPERSONS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: BEKIZWE NKOSI AND LYDIA MOSHODI