JUST IN | Hawks arrest seven people for Bosasa corruption

Handcuffs. File picture
Handcuffs. File picture

The Hawks have arrested seven people in relation to corruption at Bosasa that allegedly led to over a billion rands worth of state tenders being awarded to the company.

In a statement, the Hawks confirmed the seven people, aged between 50 and 78, were arrested for corruption, money laundering and fraud.

Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the high-profile arrests followed a marathon investigation where almost R1.6-billion was allegedly misappropriated during tender processes for the procurement of various services by the department of correctional services.

“The tenders were awarded to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd and its affiliated or subsidiary companies,” he said.

It is alleged that the officials received and accepted gifts in the form of cash. They also allegedly received financial assistance in acquiring properties, cars and payments to travel agents for overseas travel.

“One of the suspects is overseas however he has been informed that there is a warrant for his arrest,” Mulaudzi said.

“Another is in Port Elizabeth and efforts are under way to bring him back to Pretoria to face the charges.”

Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebey welcomed the arrest.

“I appreciate that the attendance of the accused in court is finally secured. It is a step in the right direction and am looking forward to proper conclusion of the matter with a verdict in court,” he said.

The five suspects already arrested, including three companies, are expected to appear at the Pretoria Specialised Commercial on Tuesday.

In 2009 the Special Investigating Unit handed over a report to the National Prosecuting Authority.

The report was in relation to four Bosasa contracts with the department of correctional services.

Although the SIU said in its report that Bosasa – and its boss Gavin Watson - had bribed former commissioner Linda Mti and department CFO Patrick Gillingham, there has been no prosecution since the handing over of the report.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, in January, testified for more than a week about corruption and bribes relating to the company’s contracts with the government.

He told the commission that every contract between the state and Bosasa was tainted by bribery and corruption.

Agrizzi said Bosasa had bribed senior officials from the department of correctional services to secure lucrative contracts at prisons across the country.

He said Bosasa allegedly oversaw the construction and footed the bill for lavish houses built for former prisons boss Linda Mti, who was the former head of safety and security in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Because of this, he said, Bosasa underhandedly landed a massive R486-million contract for fencing at about 66 prisons in 2005, while Mti was commissioner at correctional services.