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“The company at the centre of South Africa’s prison corruption scandal is closely connected to powerful individuals on the political landscape, including the country’s new spy boss, Gibson Njenje.”
“A number of them were also close to Thabo Mbeki’s presidency.”
“Bosasa Operations, exposed this week in Parliament for allegedly bribing top prison officials to secure contracts worth more than R1,7-billion, makes a killing from government business.”
“This includes work for the departments of correctional services, justice, home affairs, transport and the provincial governments of Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.”
“Bosasa’s chief executive, Gavin Watson, has close links with the governing ANC through his family’s anti-apartheid struggle credentials and his brothers’ post-1994 business interests.”
“Njenje is a founding member of Bosasa Operations and was a director of the company before being appointed head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in ­October.”
“A number of people benefiting from Bosasa contracts or linked to Watson and his family had links to Mbeki’s office, including the ex-president’s political adviser, Titus Mafolo, and Mbeki’s head of office,
Lorato Phalatse, who is married to former Strategic Fuel Fund chairperson Seth Phalatse.”
“Watson’s brother, Valence, is the chief executive of Vulisango Holdings, the empowerment partner of controversial mining firm Simmer & Jack. Valence Watson’s business partners include Nozuko Pikoli, the wife of axed prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli,
and Siviwe Mapisa, the brother of Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.”
“The M&G can reveal that Bosasa is seeking to interdict the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and President Jacob Zuma from continuing its investigation into tender rigging.”
“In its frantic efforts to halt the SIU’s graft probe—which could lead to both civil and criminal charges—Bosasa claims that the SIU leaked sensitive information to the Mail & Guardian that resulted in a ‘trial by press”.”
“Bosasa is referring to a series of M&G exposés of collusion between Bosasa and senior correctional services officials, including former prisons’ boss Linda Mti and the department’s former chief financial officer, Patrick Gilllingham.”
“Zuma’s involvement in the case stems from Mbeki’s authorisation, as president, of the SIU probe into Bosasa. The SIU and Zuma are defending the matter.”
“The Bosasa group has benefited from prison tenders worth more than R3-billion since 2004.”
“SIU head Willie Hofmeyr shocked Parliament with sordid tales of corruption inside South Africa’s prisons, disclosing details about how Bosasa put the likes of Gillingham and Mti firmly in its pocket.”
“Hofmeyr’s briefing also raised uncomfortable questions about why Mapisa-Nqakula has been sitting on the SIU report from at least mid-September.”
“It is the duty of the minister—Mapisa-Nqakula—or of the acting prisons commissioner, Jenny Schreiner, to launch a civil claim against Bosasa.”
“Bosasa’s strategy to avoid penalties is two-pronged. First, it is pursuing an application for an interdict preventing the SIU from continuing its investigation until the court has made a final decision.”
“The application is brought by Bosasa Operations, the company’s operations coordinator Angelo Agrizzi, financial coordinator Andries van Tonder, buyer Frans Vorster and Watson.”
“The four men were given notices by the SIU to ­provide certain documentation during interrogation by the unit.”
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