The Department of Communications is embroiled in a scandal involving millions of rands paid by telecoms companies to sponsor the recent ICT Indaba in Cape Town.

A report in yesterday’s Sunday Times reveals that three telecommunications companies paid R25,7-million in sponsorships for the event, but are now questioning how the money was spent.

The companies apparently agreed to the sponsorship deals after being personally approached by the Minister of Communications, Dina Pule.

According to the report, Telkom paid R5,7-million and Vodacom paid R5-million into an account in the name of Carol Bouwer Designs. MTN reportedly paid R15-million into an account held by ABR Consulting.

Carol Bouwer Designs was the company contracted to organise the event.

The Department of Communications is reported to have contributed R10-million to the conference.

The Sunday Times reports that money was withdrawn from the accounts by Phosane Mngqibisa, who it says has personal ties to the Minister.

Carol Bouwer tells the newspaper that Mngqibisa was a “second signatory” to her company bank account and his company, Khemano, was contracted for event management at the ICT Indaba.

An audit of the event’s finances in expected in July.