State alleges that former prisons boss gave Bosasa R1.8bn in tenders
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Johannesburg – The State has singled out former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti as the mastermind behind the illegal awarding of massive tenders worth R1.8 billion to the controversial Bosasa company then under ownership of the late Gavin Watson.
These details formed part of the final docket served on Mti when he appeared along with former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa group chief financial officer Andries van Tonder in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court yesterday.
Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi was not in court yesterday due to a recurring illness.
In the indictment, the State alleges that Mti was appointed as the national commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services as from September 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 tenders 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 tenders 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.
As a result of the combined charges, Mti is the only accused who was charged with five counts of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Mti 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.
All three of them were not asked to plead on the charges against them but were warned that the State was ready for trial.
The prosecution ordered the accused to study the contents of the docket and to possibly negotiate certain admissions if they so wished before the matter could be set down for trial.
The case against them was postponed until June 24, when all the parties are expected to reveal their readiness for trial.
The matter relates to four tenders awarded to Bosasa and its subsidiaries valued at over R1.8 billion between August 2004 and 2007.
Agrizzi took ill in October last year while appearing in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on an unrelated fraud and corruption matter. In that case, Agrizzi stood accused along with ANC MP and former chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services Vincent Smith. In the case, the State alleged that Agrizzi and former Bosasa boss Gavin Watson paid large amounts of money to Smith to stop investigations into the tenders awarded to Bosasa.
Meanwhile, the State also separately postponed the corruption trial against Frans Vorster and Carlos Bonafacio for their alleged role in facilitating a R180 000 bribe to Gillingham, who sat on the bid adjudication committee.
The case against Vorster and Bonafacio was postponed until April 29. Bonafacio also faces an additional charge of money laundering.