By Jonisayi Maromo
Pretoria - “Former Bosasa executive, Angelo Agrizzi, and four others charged with corruption, money laundering and fraud involving the department of correctional services and the facilities management company, Bosasa, were on Wednesday granted bail in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
The state did not oppose bail, and the matter was postponed to March 27. All the arrested accused were granted bail of R20,000 each.
The five were part of seven people aged between 50 and 78 years old, who were arrested earlier on Wednesday by the police's Directorate for Priority Investigations, known as the Hawks, on allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud.
Linda Mti, the former correctional services commissioner, was also among those arrested. The others include former correctional services CFO Patrick Gillingham, Carlos Bonafacio, Frans Vorster and Bosasa official, Andries van Tonder.
Three companies - African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa); Sondolo IT and Phezulu Fencing have all been brought before the courts to answer to the charges.
"The sweeping high-profile arrests follow a marathon investigation wherein almost R1.6 billion is said to have been misappropriated in the tender processes for the procurement of various services by the department of correctional services," the Hawks said in a statement before their court appearance.
"The tenders were awarded to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd and its affiliated or subsidiary companies."
"It is 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 and payments to travel agents for overseas travel," the Hawks said.
One of the suspects was overseas, but had been informed that there was a warrant of his arrest, the statement added. Another was in Port Elizabeth and efforts were under way to bring him to Pretoria to face charges.
Bosasa employees testifying before a commission probing state capture, including the former chief operations officer Agrizzi, have detailed bribes paid to public officials and security upgrades installed for senior officials of the ruling ANC party as incentives to help the company win tenders.
The accused will next appear in court on March 27. - Nampa/ANA