Almost 10 years after the Special Investigating Unit recommended that security company Bosasa and its executives be charged for corruption, the National Prosecuting Authority has finally acted.
However Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson – the alleged mastermind of the corruption that has taken centre stage at the State Capture Commission for the past three weeks – remains off the hook as police and prosecutors build a case against him.
City Press learnt this afternoon that Hawks investigators guided by the prosecutors involved in the case were in discussions with former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, who is their key witness to bring down Watson.
“The discussions have been ongoing for a long time before Agrizzi could testify before the Zondo commission of inquiry. There are talks of giving him immunity and of him turning state witness in return for testifying against Watson,” said a security cluster source familiar with discussions.
Agrizzi, along with former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder and former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham, appeared before the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit on Wednesday.
They face charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud. The case was postponed to February 27.
Former correctional services commissioner Linta Mti is currently in discussions with the national prosecuting authority regarding his appearance in court.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “The arrests follow a marathon investigation about a case wherein almost R1.6 billion is said to have been misappropriated in the tender processes for the procurement of various services by the correctional services department. The tenders were awarded to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd and its affiliated or subsidiary companies.”
Mulaudzi said it was alleged that the officials received and accepted gifts in the form of cash. They also allegedly received financial assistance in acquiring properties, acquiring motor vehicles from dealers, other assets, as well as payments to travel agents for overseas travel.
One of the suspects is overseas, and he has been informed that there is a warrant for his arrest.
“Another is in Port Elizabeth and efforts are under way to bring him back to Pretoria to face the charges,” he said.
The national head of the Hawks, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, has welcomed the arrest of the suspects.
“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,” said Lebeya.
Both Watson and Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leahabane did not answer their phones when called for comment. This article will be updated with their comment when they can be reached.