Bosasa scored more than R12bn in state contracts - report

For more than 15 years, facilities management company Bosasa reportedly scored more than R12bn in questionable state contracts – and many were secured through the bribery of well-placed politicians and government officials.

The Mail and Guardian reported that the controversial company - now known as African Global Operations (AGO) - benefited from several national and local government department deals, including the Limpopo Department of Social Development, the Gauteng Department of Education, the Northern Cape Department of Arts and Culture and the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The newspaper reported that Bosasa's net of contracts was cast wide and included the installation of top-of-the-range fencing around prisons, managing databases, cooking for prisoners and the supply of stationery for Department of Justice and Constitutional Development officials.

It's claimed that just under 10 000 invoices reveal how Bosasa spread its tentacles into every corner of the state, including education, catering, database management and the management of juvenile detention centres, amassing more than R12bn in just over 10 years.

The company is said to have received money from close to 40 national and provincial government departments in payments ranging from R161 for security gate remote controls to a single payment of R124m for a fencing contract with the Department of Correctional Services.

READ: Mantashe named in Bosasa scandal

For the past five years, Bosasa has also been getting small payments of between R2 000 and R10 700 from contracts awarded to its subsidiary, Sondolo IT and Global Technology Systems, for stationery. The latest payment was on January 9 this year, the newspaper reported.

Bosasa, led by CEO Gavin Watson, and its associated entities have received more than R7.2bn, in 6 515 payments, from the Department of Correctional Services since 2003 to date. It also netted close to R2bn from the Department of Home Affairs – made in 250 payments, the report reads.

Out of about 10 000 payments analysed by the newspaper, which the Treasury provided from its database, the sum of government contracts invoiced by Bosasa and its entities between mid-2003 and the beginning of this year amounted to R12  282  374  003.

According to the data, in January, at least 24 payments were made to Bosasa entities – the most recent being R5.7m from correctional services on January  24. Bosasa's most frequent payments were for food and catering. There were 1 348 food and catering-related payments, amounting to more than R1bn.

During his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi implicated senior government officials and civil servants. These included former president Jacob Zuma's close ally Dudu Myeni, Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, former prisons boss Linda Mti and National Prosecuting Authority deputy head Nomgcobo Jiba.

Former chief financial officer Andries van Tonder told the commission this week that he had collected between R4m and R6m every month from Bosasa’s vault to use to bribe people.

Van Tonder's testimony confirmed much of Agrizzi's revelations of the alleged bribery and criminality at Bosasa, News24 reported.

Earlier this week, News24 reported that former Bosasa employee Frans Vorster told the commission Watson called on him to fulfil every request made by Patrick Gillingham - a former chief financial officer in the Department of Correctional Services.

READ: Agrizzi: Does the truth lurk behind the bombshells and racism?

The newspaper further reported that an attempt by the Treasury’s office of the chief procurement officer, Kenneth Brown, to have Bosasa blacklisted was allegedly blocked by Tom Moyane, who was prisons commissioner in 2013. Three years later, Bosasa had its most lucrative year when it invoiced departments for more than R1.2bn.

There were 637 payments made during this time - most of them from the justice department. The largest single payment was R55m. The full tender eventually grew to R486 937 910.

The newspaper said the Special Investigating Unit's report found that, because the tender was awarded at the end of the financial year, the fencing contract constituted "fiscal dumping" - when departments spend large amounts of money to use up their budgets.

Daily Maverick has reported that AGO stands to make R415m from government contracts this year.

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