Parliament’s Police Committee has welcomed several arrests related to corruption, money laundering and fraud in the Bosasa tender matter.
The head of the Hawks, Godfrey Lebeya, announced earlier Wednesday that several suspects have been arrested.
Committee chairperson, Francois Beukman, says these arrests show a commitment by the new leadership of the Hawks to deal with organised commercial crime and corruption. The Hawks will brief the committee on high profile cases at the end of the month.
Former Bosasa officials, Angelo Agrizzi, Andries van Tonder, Frans Vorster and Carlos Bonafacio along with former correctional services Chief Financial Officer Patrick Gillingham have been granted R20 000 bail each at the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria.
The names of the men appeared on two different charge sheets. All of them handed in their passports to the investigating officer as part of their bail conditions.
African Global Operations (Bosasa) and its subsidiaries Sondolo IT and Phezulu Fencing are also charged with corruption and money laundering.
The charges relate to tender irregularities and corruption between Bosasa and the Department of Correctional Services with an estimated value of R1.6 billion.
The men appeared briefly in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria. The state did not oppose bail.
“It is of the utmost importance for the public to understand that bail cannot be a punitive measure. If we believe a person is not a flight risk or tamper with evidence or interfere with state witnesses, if we are convinced their release on bail will not disturb public order then we have no reason not to release them on bail,” says NPA spokesperson, Phindi Louw.
The former prison’s boss, Linda Mti, is the first accused on the one charge sheet but he did not appear in court on Wednesday and has not been arrested or charged.
Hawks spokesperson, Hlangwani Mulaudzi, did not want to divulge any information on Mti.
“If there is anyone who is going to be arrested we will make that public, we are not afraid to do that. So we don’t want to incriminate ourselves in terms of the investigation. We made it public last year in December if not November to say the investigation is finished, there are cases that can take up to 15 years and we had to give the NPA a chance to go through the charge sheet and that is why we are here and I think we should all be happy that something is being done.”
According to the charge sheet Mti received more than R1 million from Bosasa in car rental, plane tickets, accommodation and cash.
Mulaudzi says there was no political pressure to arrest the men who exposed the corruption at Bosasa in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
“ No political interference at all that we are aware of, what we can say is that those issues were dealt with and that is why we are here, I think the country can take confidence that we take these matters very seriously and I think there are still more to come out of this.”
He says the investigation has been ongoing since 2008. Mulaudzi says other people implicated during Agrizzi’s testimony at the Zondo Commission were not arrested because they were not part of the investigation.
Mulaudzi urged whistle-blowers to still come forward and testify at the Zondo Commission.