SCA orders ANC MP Bongani Bongo to face retrial for corruption

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has reversed the decision that exonerated ANC MP Bongani Bongo of all corruption-related charges.

In 2021, former judge president John Hlophe acquitted Bongo of wrongdoing.

Bongo had faced allegations of attempting to bribe an evidence leader during parliament’s 2017 inquiry into state capture at Eskom.

The trial took a significant turn when Bongo applied to be discharged after the state concluded its case. Hlophe upheld his application, citing a lack of evidence.

However, on Monday, the SCA rebuked Hlophe’s findings, deeming them in conflict with established legal principles and relevant legislation.

According to the SCA, Bongo’s trial must start anew, nullifying the previous Section 174 decision of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 that acquitted him.

Alleged bribe to collapse inquiry

“The Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered Bongani Bongo’s trial to be started afresh before a differently constituted court after setting aside the Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 decision that was granted to him,” the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, explained.

“The state indicted Bongo for corruption related to an offer he made to MJ Vanara, the evidence leader in parliament’s inquiry into Eskom.

“Vanara was allegedly offered an unspecified amount of money to collapse the inquiry.

“The presiding officer, the erstwhile judge president John Hlophe, acquitted Bongo after the state’s case. The state applied for leave to appeal on questions of law, which was dismissed.

“The state then petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal on six questions of law.

“Today the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down judgment, granting the appeal on two of the points. It did not deal with any of the other points but ordered that the trial start de novo.”

Nicolette Bell, the director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, hailed the SCA’s decision as a victory for justice and the rule of law.

She commended the specialised commercial crime unit for its dedication throughout the trial process.

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