'Mngqibisa's hired gun not credible'

Dina Pule's boyfriend has allegedly been linked to a plot to assassinate top officials who investigated her.

Former communications minister Dina Pule. Picture:GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Police are tight-lipped on whether former communications minister Dina Pule has been questioned regarding allegations that she could be linked to an assassination plot.

The Sunday Times reported that Pule's boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, allegedly planned to arrange the murders of top Parliamentary officials probing her for misconduct.

The officials named in the report are Parliamentary Ethics Committee Chairman Ben Turok and Registrar of Members' Interests Fazela Mohamed.

However, police spokesperson Solomon Makgale said the threat assessment results showed the source who claimed that Mngqibisa was planning the assassination was not credible.

"There was nothing to suggest that there is a threat against the lives against the two members of the Ethics Committee."

Makgale said police won't close the investigation, but will interview more role players.

"He has made a lot of wild allegations, none of which he could corroborate."

However, the police aren't willing to confirm whether Pule is actually under investigation.

ASSASSINATION PLOT

According to the report, a man claimed he was hired by Mngqibisa to arrange the murders.

He said Mngqibisa approached him and called for Turok to be killed so that he couldn't attend the final sit down of an Ethics Committee meeting and would give Pule more time to come up with a solution to their problems.

He also claimed Mngqibisa offered him R400,000 to falsify documents to counter all claims against him and Pule.

He said he has SMSes, emails and recordings to prove his claims.

Last week, the committee's report said the panel was told Parliament's head of security had received information of a threat to harm Turok and Mahomed and to disrupt proceedings.

The report says the threats were reported to the authorities and that appropriate measures were taken to safeguard the work of the panel and the staff assisting it.

MISCONDUCT

Earlier this month, Pule was found guilty of misconduct and lying under oath by the committee which was set up by President Jacob Zuma to investigate allegations of maladministration.

She was fined a full month's salary and suspended for 15 days.

The allegations against Pule centred on her failure to disclose her relationship with Mngqibisa.

The investigating panel found he was indeed her partner and benefitted substantially through his association with her.

The committee found that Pule willfully misled the panel and that officials may have committed perjury in defending her.

BATTLE WITH THE SUNDAY TIMES

The lengthy probe into Pule began in March and the panel reportedly had to process more than 2,000 pages of evidence.

When the allegations against her first emerged, she accused The Sunday Times of being controlled by businessmen running a 10-month long smear campaign against her.

Pule said the newspaper had flouted many press codes in its bid to assist people eyeing tenders in her department.

She accused the newspaper of allowing powerful businessmen to use the publication to blackmail her.

"The Sunday Times' handlers, who are high-profiled business people and politicians, thought that they could coerce me into a corner by threatening me to make revelations."

Every single complaint laid by Pule against _The Sunday Times _has been dismissed by the Press Ombudsman.

She was fired by Zuma last month during his fourth Cabinet reshuffle since 2009.

Zuma replaced her with former Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Yunis Carrim.