Icasa head to be fired following fraud conviction
The National Assembly has resolved to fire the chair of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa)‚ Rubben Mohlaloga‚ following a fraud conviction.
The communications committee took the decision on Tuesday after it was requested to institute removal proceedings against Mohlaloga‚ a former ANC MP‚ by speaker Baleka Mbete in February following a fraud conviction against him in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court in January.
Mohlaloga and five others were accused of defrauding the Land Bank to the tune of R6m when he was chair of Parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture. The Icasa Act prohibits anyone convicted of fraud from serving as one of its councillors.
Fatima Ebrahim‚ a parliamentary legal adviser‚ told MPs that in his representations to the committee‚ Mahlaloga had argued against his removal from office saying he would appeal his conviction and sentence‚ which are due to be handed down on April 3.
Ebrahim also stated that Mohlaloga‚ who has previously served as a leader of the ANC Youth League‚ had argued that while he benefited from R6m from the Land Bank‚ the transaction was a loan, even though no repayment agreement existed and there was no evidence of him paying back the money.
Ebrahim said Mohlaloga had admitted to using some of the money to buy two BMWs.
"Mr Mohlaloga also confirms that he did, indeed, use some money from the R6m, but testified that the payments actually constituted a loan. He confirms that he did not sign any loan agreement and‚ at the time when the matter went to trial‚ he had not paid any money back. He confirms further that he used the money to buy two BMW vehicles and that he did, indeed, have access to that money in order to purchase those vehicles himself.
"In terms of his representations‚ he submits that the magistrate had very little regard to the legal issues that were raised during the trial."
Ebrahim said Mohlaloga had blasted parliamentary proceedings against him. "He further alleges that this opportunity that was given to him to provide representation is merely an act of lip service and the outcome has already [been] pre-determined by the committee."
But MPs across the political divide have rejected his arguments‚ including his request to be placed on "precautionary suspension with full pay", saying the Icasa Act was clear on this matter.
ANC MP and chair of the the communications committee Humphrey Maxegwana said its report would now be tabled before a sitting of the National Assembly for approval.