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#StateCaptureInquiry hears how evidence was burnt and buried to cover up bribes

Former chief financial officer of Bosasa Andries Johannes van Tonder. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Former chief financial officer of Bosasa Andries Johannes van Tonder. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 30, 2019


Johannesburg - The Zondo commission has heard how evidence was destroyed by Bosasa officials while the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was conducting an investigation into corrupt activities at Bosasa. 

Andries van Tonder, a former chief financial officer at Bosasa, told the commission that Bosasa often funded the travel expenses of "VIP government officials". 

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The company used a travel company called Blake's Travel Agency to book travel arrangments for the government officials.

Van Tonder did not mention which government officials had their travels funded by Bosasa. The inquiry was earlier told by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi that the company funded travel expenses for former prisons' bosses Linda Mti and Patrick Gillingham. 

The SIU had, at the time, been conducting an investigation into Bosasa. The report was concluded in 2009. Van Tonder said Bosasa officials were nervous about the SIU investigation and efforts were made to cover up evidence that could incriminate the company. 

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Van Tonder said he was told by his boss Gavin Watson that he and Agrizzi should collect incriminating documentation from Blake's Travel. The two took documents and computers from the company. 

They then drove to an area opposite Bosasa's head office and a hole was dug up and the evidence was buried and destroyed. 

"We took the invoices collected and the computers. A hole was dug with a tractor and the collected stuff was thrown in the hole and covered with soil and set alight. After a while, the soil was thrown in the hole again and a big concrete block was placed on top of it," said van Tonder. 

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"Bosasa brought new computers to Blake's Travel."

Agrizzi, who concluded his testimony on Tuesday, also detailed efforts to destroy evidence. He told the commission that SIU investigators were blocked for a week from visiting the company's offices to retrieve evidence from the company's computer server. 

A virus was installed in the computer server which resulted in thousands of documents being erased and overwritten. 

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SIU investigators were later able to recover some of the documents. 

The inquiry continues.


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