Pahad comes under fire

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Essop Pahad, the minister in the office of the presidency, might be reprimanded by parliament if he is found to have lied about his role in a sponsorship deal for a book about the intellectual life of President Thabo Mbeki.

Pahad, right, has come under fire from the DA's Gareth Morgan for allegedly misleading parliament about the R1,43million sponsorship of the book by Absa.

Morgan said Pahad organised the sponsorship as an official of the presidency.

Pahad rejected Morgan's claim and said he had organised the sponsorship in his personal capacity.

Through presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga, Pahad said he had replied correctly to questions posed by Morgan in October 2004.

In the written question, Morgan asked if the presidency was involved in raising funds for the book and Pahad answered, in writing, "no".

The book, by Ronald Suresh Roberts, will be published in June.

Morgan said he would follow up his questioning of Pahad with a letter to the speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, asking that a committee be set up to investigate Pahad's actions in securing the sponsorship.