Travelgate 'not brushed under the carpet'

Parliament has not brushed the Travelgate saga under the carpet, said the office of the speaker on Wednesday.

“Contrary to claims made by Democratic Alliance [DA] chief whip Ian Davidson, Parliament has not made any decision to sweep issues surrounding Bathong Travel [the Travelgate saga] under the carpet,” said director of communications Tenjiwe Kona.

According to the statement, Bathong Travel, not individual MPs, owes money to Parliament as a result of travel-voucher fraud. Bathong Travel was being liquidated.

“The liquidators have indicated that there is only about R50 000 left in the Bathong liquidation matter.

“Given this limited amount of money, the liquidators have advised that should any of the creditors, Parliament included, wish to pursue any claims, the legal costs will by far exceed this amount.”

Kona said it was on this basis that the decision was made to withdraw the mandate of the liquidators of Bathong Travel to recover debt owed to the institution.

“It was decided to buy back the claim from the liquidators. This amounts to approximately R200 000. This was decided to avoid legal cost orders from defendants.”

Parliament was awaiting a response from the liquidators about this offer to buy back the claim.

“If the liquidators accept Parliament’s offer, all viable legal claims will still be pursued by Parliament, including the institution of criminal proceedings, where necessary.”

Davidson on Tuesday lambasted a decision in principle by Parliament’s oversight authority to abandon the debt owed the legislature by MPs allegedly involved in the scandal.—Sapa

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