Scopa urged to launch inquiry into corruption at Development Bank of SA

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has alleged serious corruption at the Development Bank.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has alleged serious corruption at the Development Bank.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Parliament's public accounts watchdog is considering an inquiry into allegations of corruption and maladministration at the Development Bank of SA (DBSA).

This follows a submission by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa to the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday containing a slew of allegations dating back about a decade.

In the main, Holomisa complained about:

  • Alleged mismanagement and maladministration of three loans, totalling hundreds of millions of rand, which he said the DBSA had allegedly extended to three entities that form part of Cranbrook Property Projects.

  • The Poseidon Water Project, which the DBSA allegedly supported to the tune of R350m and the alleged involvement of politically exposed people in the shareholder structure of a company.

  • The alleged victimisation of certain board members, in particular Bulelwa Ndamase who reportedly questioned the Cranbrook deal, and her subsequent release as a non-executive director.

  • The circumstances in which the new DBSA board was selected, appointed and announced.

  • The suitability of Enoch Godongwana as DBSA board chairperson and the power he wields at the bank.

“We all agree on the strategic importance of the DBSA and yet, considering my recent experience, it seems as if it has been left to its own devices and it may not be as well run as we hoped,” charged Holomisa.

Holomisa said he had, on separate occasions during the course of this year, been approached by different sources with information regarding alleged wrongdoing at the DBSA.

Holomisa wrote to Scopa last month about information that whistleblowers had shared with him. On Wednesday, the committee unanimously agreed to investigate the allegations. It is yet to decide the format the inquiry will follow.

There are grave allegations before us of serious corruption, fraud, maladministration and a failure to adhere to due process.
Scopa chair Mkhuleko Hlengwa

“What is not in dispute is that there are grave allegations before us of serious corruption, fraud, maladministration and a failure to adhere to due process which require our attention,” said Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

“Serious details were presented to us this morning and we will have to establish whether they [whistleblowers] are prepared to come forward. If we have to use the powers of subpoena, we will most certainly do so. This is a matter we take very seriously,” said Hlengwa.

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks was the first to propose that Scopa should not “outsource” its powers and rather get to the bottom of Holomisa's allegations itself.

“The presentation is dealing with a festival of alleged corruption,” he said. “It is no small matter, extremely serious allegations are being made by honourable Holomisa. It is actually scary what is being presented to us today,” he said.

MPs proposed that DBSA and its chairperson Godongwana, finance minister Tito Mboweni, board members, whistleblowers and other implicated parties be invited to the inquiry.

The bank will also be requested to present to Scopa all the loans it has granted since 1994, explain the status of those loans, and respond to Holomisa's allegations.

TimesLIVE


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