Lynne Brown.  Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Lynne Brown. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The Ministry of Public Enterprises has accused the evidence leader in the public inquiry into state capture, being held by Parliament’s public enterprises committee, of procedural unfairness.

The accusation is contained in a media statement released by the ministry on Tuesday.

The evidence leader, advocate Nthuthuzela Vanara, is accused of failing to act in an ethical and professional manner.

The ministry said the inquiry had failed to uphold the Promotion of Fair Administrative Justice Act and the Constitution.

The statement cites as an example of this failure to uphold the standards of fairness and justice the evidence presented by suspended Eskom head of legal and compliance Suzanne Daniels, who told the committee last week that she had attended a meeting earlier this year at which Ajay Gupta, Gupta associate Salim Essa and Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins were present.

Martins has strongly denied he was present at the meeting.

The procedural unfairness, the statement said, related to the failure to accord Martins an opportunity to controvert and/or answer Daniels’s testimony, and the failure of Vanara to elicit testimony from Martins.

"The parliamentary inquiry has to be lawful, transparent, accountable, fair, regular and valid. The parliamentary inquiry is not permitted to allow others to be implicated without being heard," the ministry’s statement said.

Testimony implicating various persons had been allowed at the inquiry without these persons being advised that they were going to be implicated.

Martins has disputed Daniels’s testimony, saying that from 7am until approximately 1.15pm on the day in question he was at the funeral service of government spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa at St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria.

"Whilst at the funeral the Deputy Minister took several photographs with other former Robben Island political prisoners and posted one of the photographs on his twitter handle. At approximately 1.30pm the deputy minister departed from St Albans Cathedral and drove to St Georges Hotel in Irene, where the ANC NEC legkotla was to commence at 2pm.

"Upon arrival at St Georges Hotel Conference Centre the deputy minister registered as a participant and was issued with an accreditation card.

"The deputy minister attended the economic transformation commission, which was chaired by Enoch Godongwana. Ministers Rob Davies, Ebrahim Patel and Lindiwe Zulu, among others, made presentations at the commission.

"Throughout the duration of the commission, from approximately 2.30pm until 7.30pm he sat next to the chairperson of the ANC parliamentary caucus, Seiso Mohai.

"When the economic transformation commission deliberations ended for the day, he went to the St Georges Hotel Conference Centre dining hall, where he sat at a dining table with Paul Langa, Vusi Mkhize and other members of the ANC logistics and security unit.

"Deputy minister Martins departed from the dining hall at appropriately 8.30pm and went to his residence in Pretoria.

Mohai, Langa "and other ANC members who were in attendance at the commission and the dinner can attest to the above", the statement said.

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