Report: Prison boss was bribed

2011-03-20 09:16

Johannesburg - A shock report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) claims a mansion was built for former prisons boss Linda Mti by a company that received tenders worth R1.5 billion on his watch.

The report nails facilities management group Bosasa, headed by the politically connected businessman Gavin Watson, for bribing Mti and the former chief financial officer of the prisons department, Patrick Gillingham.

City Press is in possession of a copy of the report that has been kept under wraps after it was handed to correctional ­services minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula by the SIU in September 2009.

The SIU found the existence of an ­“improper and corrupt” relationship between senior correctional services officials and the Bosasa group, which has received massive tenders since 2004 to provide ­catering services, security equipment, televisions and modern fencing to prisons.

Bosasa has links to senior government and ANC officials, including National ­Intelligence Agency boss Gibson Njenje, who was one of the company’s founding members and a former chairperson.

The group also benefits from massive transport and justice department tenders, and is running the Lindela repatriation camp for the home affairs department.


The SIU report claims that:

  •  The department of correctional ­services (DCS), under Mti, used savings from the fund for the compensation of prison staff to pay for the Bosasa tenders;

  • Gillingham received cash, cars, a ­kitchen and payments towards a house from Bosasa;

  • Gillingham carried business cards indicating he was a “consultant” to a Bosasa affiliate while he was working for the DCS;

  • Bosasa was involved in drafting tender documents for contracts it won in a way that gave it a clear advantage in the awarding of these tenders; and

  • Mti, who was head of security for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, appointed Gillingham as acting chief financial officer in 2004 shortly after allegations surfaced that he (Gillingham) submitted fraudulent subsistence and travel claims, had an affair with his secretary and intimidated staff.

The SIU concludes that there was an “improper and corrupt relationship” ­between Gillingham, Mti and the Bosasa group of companies.

Bosasa has previously denied acting illegally and brought a court challenge against the investigation. The SIU undertook not to “interrogate material witnesses” (including Bosasa officials and the company’s auditors) until the court case was finalised.

Mti and Gillingham previously denied taking bribes. Mti said in November 2009: “I can tell you that there’s no money that went into my own pocket.”

How the SIU did it

In 2006 various allegations surfaced in the media relating to the alleged irregular awarding of multimillion-rand contracts by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to the Bosasa group of companies.

Later in 2006 the Public Service Commission and the Auditor-General referred specific allegations relating to the Bosasa contracts to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for further investigation.


In November 2007 former president Thabo Mbeki issued a proclamation authorising the SIU to investigate tender irregularities at the DCS.

The SIU employed a multi-disciplinary team of forensic lawyers, forensic accountants, forensic investigators and cyber forensic experts to conduct the investigation.

The SIU obtained 28 affidavits, the majority from correctional services officials.

A former Bosasa employee, who is unnamed in the report, provided the SIU with a crucial affidavit, describing how Bosasa influenced tender processes.

In December 2008 the SIU made mirror images of Bosasa’s computer servers and the laptops of Bosasa employees Angelo Agrizzi, Andries van Tonder and Frans Vorster.

The SIU discovered that a data deletion utility had been used to wipe data from the servers, but the unit managed to retrieve data by employing advanced data-recovery techniques.

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