Agrizzi in court over allegedly fraudulent Bosasa prison tenders
Testimony of fraud, corruption and collusion that Bosasa’s former chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi delivered at the state capture inquiry last year will soon be tested in court.
Agrizzi, the controversial whistle-blower who highlighted alleged corruption leading to Bosasa securing lucrative government tenders for years on end, appeared in the specialised commercial crimes court in Pretoria on Wednesday.
He was joined in court by former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti, former CFO of correctional services Patrick Gillingham, and Bosasa’s former CFO Andries Van Tonder, said the NPA's investigating directorate.
The four face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, corruption and money laundering.
“The matter relates to four tenders awarded to Bosasa Operations and its subsidiaries valued at over R1.8bn between the periods August 2004 to 2007. Contracts for the rendering of catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing of perimeter fencing, supply of television systems and monitoring equipment,” said directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala.
Their trial was set down for October 16.
“The investigating directorate prosecutors and the legal team of the accused agreed to meet for a pre-trail conference and interlocutory issues before that date,” said Twala.
The accused are out on R20,000 bail and have surrendered their passports.
Head of the investigating directorate, advocate Hermione Cronje, said that while these four were currently the only ones charged with the tender scandal, more arrests could be made as widespread corruption had played out in the awarding of the tenders.
“’This prosecution deals with the early days of corruption perpetrated by Bosasa. The company and its subsidiaries and affiliates went on to secure in excess of R34bn in government contracts from a range of government departments at all levels of government, even after the corruption in these four initial tenders was laid bare in 2010,” Cronje was quoted as saying.
More arrests in the matter will follow as these investigations draw to a close.Hermione Cronje
“The directorate’s investigations into those who enabled the corruption to continue after the initial SIU [Special Investigating Unit] report is the subject of ongoing investigations by the directorate.
“More arrests in the matter will follow as these investigations draw to a close.”
In his own admissions during the state capture inquiry, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, Agrizzi named several high-ranking politicians, union officials and journalists, whom he claimed had been on Bosasa’s payroll.
Agrizzi made damning allegations that Bosasa had paid R75m in bribes each year to secure government tenders. The bulk of these funds — about R40m — had reportedly been forked out to the departments of justice and correctional services to secure tenders.