Bosasa was involved in ‘grand corruption’: state capture inquiry

Inquiry chair says it boggles the mind how firm scored government contracts

30 July 2021 - 16:29 By mawande amashabalala
Bosasa kept getting lucrative government contracts, despite a cloud of corruption hanging over the firm. Stock photo.
Bosasa kept getting lucrative government contracts, despite a cloud of corruption hanging over the firm. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ALLAN SWART

State capture inquiry chairperson acting chief justice Raymond Zondo says it is puzzling how a company like Bosasa, swimming in allegations of corruption in the early 2000s, kept getting government contracts well into the 2010s. 

Zondo said it is for this reason his commission must find way in its final report to recommend how this should never happen again.

He was speaking during the grilling of former chief operations officer of the department of justice, Dr Khotso De Wee, who also had a brief stint as secretary of the state capture inquiry.

De Wee left the state capture inquiry in a huff in 2019 after it emerged he was involved in the approval of a number of contracts to Bosasa-linked entities while a high-ranking official in the justice department.

De Wee was fingered for allegedly being involved in at least three contracts awarded to Bosasa and/or its subsidiaries for more than R1bn.

These include R600m worth of CCTV camera installations at 127 court buildings across the country, awarded to Sondolo IT in 2009. 

During his appearance on Friday, De Wee denied he ever wrongfully favoured Bosasa.

Zondo was not buying his story.

“The evidence we have heard suggests Bosasa began to be involved in corruption with government departments, particularly the department of correctional services, long before 2010,” said Zondo.

“But it continued to get government contracts, and I have continued to ask how was it possible that an entity known to have all kinds of serious corruption against it for so many years continued to get contract after contract from government departments?

“You were COO. Why did the department continue to give contracts to an entity that was publicly associated with allegations of corruption?”

De Wee replied: “If we knew then what we know now, a different set of considerations were going to be made.”

Zondo was not convinced.

“On the evidence led at this commission, there is absolutely no doubt Bosasa was involved in grand corruption. It was involved in corruption of another level. 

“Bosasa had no qualms about using a lot of money to bribe government officials. It also, on the evidence before the commission, bribed officials in the private sector.

“During Mr [former Bosasa COO Angelo] Agrizzi’s evidence we were shown cash. Bosasa was involved in a lot of corruption. The question is when all these allegations were in the media, should it not have been a concern to government officials? That is of concern,“ said Zondo.

“Of course looking at where we are, a question that should concern the commission is: what is it that should be put in place to ensure that what Bosasa did does not get repeated by any other company in the future, and of course to make sure government officials do not continue giving contracts to companies facing serious corruption allegations?”

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