Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has racked up over R140 million in legal fees since her term in office began in 2017.
Mkhwebane’s impeachment hearings before Parliament resumed on Thursday, after a week and a half break.
Evidence leader presents a damning picture of Mkhwebane’s track record
Evidence leader advocate Nazreen Bawa presented a damning summary of the court judgements against Mkhwebane.
Bawa said the Public Protector‘s office was involved in 72 review applications with 37 of Mkhwebane’s reports set aside and another 47 cases pending before the High Courts.
The consulting and professional fees amount to over R158 million, R146 998 047 of which has been spent on legal fees.
The ABSA/CIEX matter alone cost R15 million. That report looked into the bailout granted by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) to Absa.
The DA/ Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) matter racked up a cool R5 million bill.
That case related to her investigation into the controversial Estina Vrede Dairy Project.
Both the DA and Casac argued that Mkhwebane failed in her constitutional duties and willfully ignored crucial information when she investigated the Estina Project by whitewashing then Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s role in the scandal.
Last month, Public Protector Legal Services manager Thembinkosi Sithole testified that her office allegedly paid a legal advisor R87 000 to write opinion pieces denouncing those who were critical of Mkhwebane.
Sithole said Mkhwebane’s office paid Paul Ngobeni large sums to write articles published in the “Africa News 24” website, which is no longer operational.
Ngobeni was also paid R96 000 to provide a legal opinion on Mkhwebane’s investigation into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign.
The hearing continues.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney
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