Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya is the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks). Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Hawks national head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has welcomed the arrest of seven people on allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud involving the prisons department and Bosasa.

“I appreciate that the attendance of the accused in court is finally secured," Lebeya said.

"It is a step in the right direction and I am looking forward to proper conclusion of the matter with a verdict in court."

"The sweeping high-profile arrests follows a marathon investigation wherein almost R1.6 billion is said to have been misappropriated in the tender processes for the procurement of various services by the department of Correctional Services," the Hawks said in a statement.

"The tenders were awarded to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd and its affiliated or subsidiary companies."

Five of those arrested are expected to appear on Wednesday at the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

"It is alleged that the officials received and accepted gifts in the form of cash, they also allegedly received financial assistance in acquiring properties, acquiring motor vehicles from dealers, other assets and payments to travel agents for overseas travel," the Hawks said.

One of the suspects was overseas but had been informed that there was a warrant for his arrest, while another was in Port Elizabeth and efforts were underway to bring him to Pretoria to face charges.

Bosasa employees testifying before a commission probing state capture, including former chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi, have detailed bribes paid to public officials and security upgrades installed for senior officials of the ruling ANC party as incentives to help the company win tenders.

African News Agency (ANA)