Hawks probe Zuma’s new spy minister over ‘kickback’

05 November 2017 - 00:00 By THANDUXOLO JIKA and THABO MOKONE
Bongani Bongo was a backbench MP before joining the cabinet last month.
Bongani Bongo was a backbench MP before joining the cabinet last month.
Image: Supplied

Newly appointed State Security Minister Bongani Bongo’s past as a senior government official in Mpumalanga has come back to haunt him.

It has emerged this week that Bongo, who was appointed to his new job by President Jacob Zuma in a cabinet reshuffle just three weeks ago, is being investigated by the Hawks over allegations of fraud and corruption while he served as the head of legal services in the department of human settlements of Mpumalanga back in 2012.

This is revealed in reports submitted to the police ministry by acting Hawks head Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata as part of routine updates on serious investigations days after Bongo’s appointment.

According to one of the reports, R300,000 was paid into the account of BMW Sandton as a deposit towards the purchase of a sport utility vehicle that was registered in the name of Bongo’s brother, Joel, although tracker records showed it was regularly used by the minister, who also used the car to claim for official kilometres from the human settlements department.

The report says the payment is alleged to have been a reward from companies that benefited from Bongo’s influence when the Mpumalanga human settlements department purchased three farms for R123-million, with breaches of regular procurement processes allegedly at Bongo’s instruction.

Bongo failed to respond to detailed questions, saying only that he had always conducted himself lawfully.

Until recently, the 39-year-old politician from the small town of Siyabuswa, in Mpumalanga, was an unknown backbencher in parliament who served on the portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development.

Read the full story on the Sunday Times website

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