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Fake invoices, death claims and code words: How Bosasa laundered cash for bribes

Published Jan 30, 2019


Johannesburg - Fake invoices and fictitious companies were used by facilities management and security company Bosasa to stock up cash for bribes to corrupt senior government officials, the state capture commission of inquiry heard on Wednesday.

Former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder said CEO Gavin Watson requested a lot of cash from the company's bank account. As time went on, the cash amounts requested became too large, posing regulatory risks for Bosasa. 

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The company then began using various illegal ways to get the cash, including requesting cash payments for fictitious goods, Van Tonder said.

''The requests for cash escalated over the years. Cash cheques were issued by companies within [the Bosasa] group and requisitions accompanied by fake invoices for cash to pay fake entities would be forwarded. Furthermore, money would be requested to pay a non-existing labour broker in cash,'' said Van Tonder.

In another scheme, death benefits were used to launder money, said Van Tonder. Copies of Metropolitan funeral policies were sent for cash claims. A company called Equal Trade Pty Ltd, owned by Gregg Lacon-Allen, was also used to access money. Weekly orders included ''1 ton of chicken'', a code for R1 million, said Van Tonder.

''Watson would tell us how much is required. 1,5 ton was R1,5 million... I collected the cash [from Gregg Lacon-Alle], delivered at a filling station or shopping centre near Lanseria Airport. I collected the cash and delivered it to Bosasa, and locked it in a safe situated in a walk-in vault.  

He said between R4 million and R6 million was generated from Equal Trade Pty Ltd and used for bribes.

For his cash collection work which started in 2005, Van Tonder said he received R20,000 monthly cash payments from Bosasa until he left the company in November 2017. Van Tonder also enjoyed overseas holidays, tyre fittings on his car and maintenance work on his home, courtesy of Bosasa.

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''I think all these benefits were meant to ensure that I keep quiet. Watson used to say to me ''remember, you are now compromised'', said Van Tonder.

Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, is headquartered in Krugersdorp in the West Rand. 

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African News Agency (ANA)

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