Johannesburg - When confidential National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) documents were leaked to Bosasa it could have armed the facilities management company with the ammunition needed to fight the state’s case.
This is according to former lead investigator, Clinton Oellermann, in the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) investigation into corruption at Bosasa at the commission on Monday.
Oellermann testified about the unit’s investigation into tenders awarded to Bosasa by the department of correctional services. The unit investigation followed a proclamation issued by the presidency.
The unit’s investigation was concluded in 2009 and the report was handed to the NPA. The Hawks and the NPA took 10 years to charge those implicated in the SIU report. After the report was handed to the NPA, it has come to light through the commission how the head of the NPA at the time, Advocate Menzi Simelane, fought every effort to bring the matter to court.
Earlier this year, former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi told the commission that he and Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson had met with former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni who handed them confidential NPA documents related to the investigation.
The documents formed part of Agrizzi’s testimony.
From the documents, it appears that prosecutors had tried to form a case using the SIU report. However, Simelane made countless objections with how prosecutors had been handling the investigation.
He wrote in a memorandum to the then deputy director of public prosecutions Glynnis Breytenbach that the case had not been reported to the SAPS by the SIU and he instructed that those working on the case should be removed.
In another leaked memorandum, Simelane told the then minister of Justice Jeff Radebe that the SIU’s investigation was not with the constitutional mandate, he complained about a possible “witch-hunt” and racism motivation.
He also said a “political vendetta had been identified”, that the report was not conducted with the required administration of justice and that the report would not hold water in court and no presiding officer would present the matter in court.
Oellermann was asked about his conclusion about Simelane’s comments which he dismissed. He said the unit acted within its mandate and compiled the report according to the SIU act and the proclamation.
“I am not aware of any unconstitutionality, the evidence was gathered in terms of the SIU act. It was handled in terms of the proclamation and the SIU act. I do not believe that is a fair comment.
We obtained evidence legally and we did not act outside the SIU act. It would never be my priority to enter a witch-hunt,” said Oellerman.
Oellerman was also asked on his own views about the NPA documents that were leaked to Bosasa. He said such documents could have been used as ammunition against the NPA case.
“Such information would be invaluable which can be used to attack the prosecution and any other investigation,” said Oellermann.
The NPA did not proceed with the case until early this year when former Bosasa officials including Agrizzi were arrested and charged. Former correctional services officials Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti were also charged in connection with the charges related to the SIU report.
Earlier, Oellermann said he could not comprehend how it took authorities 10 years to bring charges against those investigated by the SIU.
“It is unique that a matter has taken this long to get to court,” said Oellermann.
Oellerman has concluded his evidence.
On Tuesday the commission will hear from other Bosasa related witnesses.