R1.8 billion corruption trial of former correctional services boss Linda Mti to be heard in the High Court

Former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane-African News Agency (ANA)

Former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane-African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 24, 2022


The Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has ordered that the R1.8 billion corruption trial against former correctional services boss Linda Mti be heard in the High Court in Pretoria.

The State was also granted permission to appoint a pulmonologist to assess the medical condition of fraud and corruption accused and former Bosasa COO, Angelo Agrizzi.

The ruling was made during the appearance of Mti, former correctional service chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa group chief financial officer Andries van Tonder.

Agrizzi was not in court, but his lawyers made an undertaking to allow the State to have access to his private and confidential medical records to assess whether he would be fit to stand trial.

The case against them was postponed until May 30 to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for trial.

The State has singled out Mti as the mastermind behind the illegal awarding of massive tenders worth R1.8bn to the controversial Bosasa company then under the ownership of the late Gavin Watson.

In the indictment, the state alleges that Mti was appointed as the national commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services as from September 1, 2001, for a period of three years.

During July 2004, his term of office was extended for a further period of three years. Mti was, by virtue of his position, the accounting officer of the department as envisaged by Section 36 of the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999. As the accounting officer Mti held the responsibility for the financial and functional approval and awarding of contracts issued by the department. He resigned from the Department on November 30, 2006, to become the chief security officer for the 2010 Soccer World Cup tournament.

The State, however, argues that the four contracts forming the subject of these criminal charges were awarded to Bosasa, Sondolo IT, and Phezulu Fencing during the period when Mti was the commissioner and accounting officer of the department.

Mti is the only accused who was charged with five counts of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). He also faces one count of corruption. He also stands accused along with Gillingham and Agrizzi on four counts of fraud each.

Gillingham was also charged with corruption. He also faces five counts of money laundering along with Agrizzi and Van Tonder.

Early in March, the Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture made damning findings against Bosasa. It found that Bosasa bribed politicians and government officials with cash, houses and cars, and paid R2.2 million for Gillingham’s divorce settlement.

Then Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said Bosasa got contracts from public departments and entities between 2000 and 2016 worth at least R2.3bn. Bosasa used R75m to pay bribes to ANC politicians, former post office senior executives, Gillingham and Mti.

In the report, Justice Zondo gives a detailed account of how some of the R75m in bribes were given to Gillingham and Mti, including their family members. Justice Zondo now wants the NPA to add more charges against them and possibly attach their properties.

“Bosasa paid for the studies of two of Mr Mti’s children, and for security guards to be placed at Mr Mti’s house. Mr Gumede (then Bosasa director Joe Gumede) paid cash to an official at a court to make a drunk driving charge against Mti disappear.

“Bosasa also paid Mr Gillingham a ’salary’ through BEE Foods after his resignation from DCS,” Justice Zondo found. He said that Bosasa also purchased cars for Gillingham and his family members, including his wife and son.

The justice also found that Bosasa paid for the building of Gillingham’s house in Midstream Estate and Mti’s house in Savannah Hills. Bosasa also installed security systems at Mti’s house at a cost of R350 000. The total approximate cost of the equipment, vehicle, travel and labour for work done at Mti residences in the Eastern Cape was R417 980.19, which excluded miscellaneous costs.

Justice Zondo found that Bosasa also paid for Gillingham’s legal fees during the SIU investigation, through a company called Synchro Prop.

“Bosasa also paid for Mr Gillingham’s legal fees related to his divorce as well as R2.2m in settlement to Gillingham’s wife. Bosasa paid for the legal fees related to Mr Gillingham’s son’s labour dispute, as well as for the payment of R700 000 owed to Bakwena,” Justice Zondo found.

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Political Bureau