Former chief operations officer of Bosasa, Angelo Agrizzi. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)
Former chief operations officer of Bosasa, Angelo Agrizzi. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)

Bosasa scandal: Inside the world of corruption, greed and irregular tenders

By Don Makatile Time of article published Feb 10, 2019

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Johannesburg - The charge sheets read like a plot from a cloak-and-dagger mystery, spiced with bundles of bribe money to grease palms and earn tenders.

Stand by for a peek into the world of graft and deep-seated corruption when the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) corruption and money laundering case against the four accused individuals and three companies in the Bosasa scandal finally comes to court after years of investigation.

The Sunday Independent has seen the charge sheets in the case that has gripped and shocked the country - they make for fascinating reading, like something out of an advanced accounting class.

At the heart of the charges are the huge sums of money that changed hands in the irregular tenders awarded by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to Bosasa, now trading as African Global Operations (AGO).

Accused number 1 is former DCS commissioner Linda Mti, who handed himself over a day after the Wednesday arrests of the former chief financial officer under him, Patrick Gillingham (accused number 2), and former Bosasa linkmen Angelo Agrizzi (accused number 3) and Andries van Tonder (accused number 4).

Utilities firm AGO and its subsidiaries Sondolo IT and Phezulu Fencing appear as accused five, six and seven, respectively.

When he began his testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, the former Bosasa chief operations officer Agrizzi was awakened to the fact that his affidavit could incriminate him in the very unlawful acts he was charging his former employer with, especially company boss Gavin Watson.

Agrizzi continued for eight days, aware of the implications until he was arrested on Wednesday.

The accused were released on bail of R20000 each.

Throughout his testimony detailing how they paid government officials in order to rig tenders, Mti was their bagman, Agrizzi told the Zondo Commission.

In naming “people I would deliver cash to and they would distribute it”, Agrizzi constantly mentioned “Richmond Mti”.

Mti would then deliver the money to whoever was in Bosasa’s pockets in his line of work.

As for Gillingham, Agrizzi expressly said he was not on the list of distributors as he (Agrizzi) personally handed the former chief financial officer his bribe, with no go-between.

“No, he did not distribute it. Sorry, I personally delivered to Gillingham.”

Gillingham’s take was “R47500 in cash, because that apparently was equivalent to what his net earnings were with the department”, Agrizzi told the commission.

He said “the idea was that this money would be delivered to him on a monthly basis and I would also have to deal with (whatever it was) if there was something wrong with his house. You know, if he needed the plumbers out or he needed the pool fixed or something like that. Then that would be dealt with as well”.

Bosasa did the maintenance work, termed “special projects” at the homes of many implicated politicians, including Nomvula Mokonyane, Gwede Mantashe and Thabang Makwetla.

But Gillingham’s payments continued “to my knowledge (payments continued and even subsequent) to 2016”.

The NPA charges Mti with complicity in the awarding of irregular tenders to Bosasa.

In one instance, the charge sheet reads, “in the period between May 2004 and July 2004 and at or near Pretoria in the regional division of Gauteng, the Accused, being the Accounting Officer of the Department of Correctional Services, did unlawfully, wilfully or in a grossly negligent manner, fail to comply with the following provisions of the Public Finance Management Act;

1.1 The duty to ensure that the Department has and maintains an appropriate procurement and provisioning system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective (Section 38(1)(a)(ii)); or

1.2 The duty to take responsibility for the effective, economical and transparent use of the resources of the Department (Section 38(1)(b)); or

1.3 The duty to take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular expenditure (Section 38(1)(c)(ii)); or

1.4 The duty to comply and ensure compliance by the Department, with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (Section 38(1)(* )),

2. In that Accused 1 failed to ensure compliance with the prescribed procurement processes of the Department of Correctional Services during the conclusion of TENDER NUMBER HK2/2004: RENDERING OF CATERING AND TRAINING SERVICES AT THE VARIOUS MANAGEMENT AREAS, in the amount of R718 283 084, 07.

On so it goes, ad infinitum, detailing Mti and Gillingham’s transgressions, with the Bosasa enablers’ respective roles.

Over and above the money Agrizzi says Bosasa paid to Mti, the charges list cash payments of figures ranging from R5000 to R2000 paid to the ex-prisons boss.

The Sunday Independent

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