Bosasa goes bust as state capture inquiry lifts lid on bribery, corruption

2019-02-18 14:00

FNB and Absa have informed facilities management group Bosasa that their accounts would be closed, following the arrests of company execs and correctional services officials in the wake of state capture revelations at the Zondo commission.

Angelo Agrizzi at state capture inquiry

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Last Updated at 22:10
18 Feb 18:08
News24 Editor-in-Chief Adriaan Basson and Opinions Editor Alet Janse van Rensburg unpack the latest developments in the Bosasa scandal, after the company - now known as African Global Operations (AGO) - announced on Monday that it was under voluntary liquidation.

18 Feb 16:48

Bosasa fallout: Correctional Services urgently sets up war room

Correctional services officials are hard at work to put emergency measures in place to deal with the potential fallout if facilities management company Bosasa is not able to provide food to thousands of prisoners around the country. 

Bosasa, now named African Global Operations, announced on Monday that its board had decided to place the company under voluntary liquidation.

This followed a decision by Bosasa’s bankers, FNB, to terminate the company’s accounts. 

Bosasa provides three meals a day to prisoners at 26 prisons which house collectively 46 434 prisoners – 29% of the total inmate population of correctional facilities in the country. 

18 Feb 15:59

#Bosasa: Workers protest amid sudden shutdown plan

Workers employed by facilities management company Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations (AGO), staged a demonstration outside its Mogale City head office on Monday - minutes after the company announced its voluntary liquidation.

"[W]e are gathered here ... to make several demands relating to medical aid, transport allowance and wages," South African Private Security Workers Union (SAPSWU) representative Moses Sefala told News24.

The group of demonstrators were hired as security personnel at the Lindela Repatriation Centre and were unaware that just minutes before the demonstration, the company announced that it would go into voluntary liquidation, which could lead 4 500 employees to possibly lose their jobs.

18 Feb 13:54

The multibillion-rand Bosasa state contracts likely to be affected by the company's impending liquidation 

Beleaguered facilities management and security company Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations (AGO), announced on Monday that the company was under voluntary liquidation.

The decision comes after the company's main banking institution, First National Bank, communicated it would close the company's banking facilities by February 28, 2019.

AGO and its directors have been accused of corruption and bribery in exchange for state contracts since at least 2008. The details of this alleged corruption was exposed during testimony by former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi before the state capture commission of inquiry.

Conservative estimates calculated from early data and compiled by National Treasury, show that Bosasa was paid roughly R12bn by the government between 2004 and today, through various departments and entities. 

18 Feb 10:57


18 Feb 10:26

BREAKING: Bosasa confirms its liquidation after banks pull out 

African Global Operations, known as Bosasa, has confirmed in a statement that the company is under voluntary liquidation after their bank communicated a decision to close down the company’s banking facilities.

AGO confirms the move will not affect its ongoing operations. 

18 Feb 10:26

BREAKING: FNB, Absa close Bosasa bank accounts

First National Bank (FNB) and Absa have informed beleaguered facilities management group Bosasa that their bank accounts will be closed.

News24 has independently confirmed that FNB, the controversial group's long-time banker, is severing ties with the company led by CEO Gavin Watson.

Absa is also cutting ties with the group, including the family trust account of former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi. 

18 Feb 10:26


The Sunday Read: Accounting body will deal with bad apples, says CEO amid Zondo revelations 

It is unfortunate that "a few rogue accountants" managed to tarnish the image of the accounting profession in South Africa, according to Shahied Daniels, new CEO of the SA Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).

SAIPA has more than 10 000 members.

Daniels says SAIPA has taken a pro-active stance, with the organisation releasing a media statement confirming that a number of accountants' names were revealed in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. 

"We have assured the public of continuous communication in this regard and about how we would deal with our members, should any be found wanting," said Daniels.

18 Feb 10:26


REVEALED: Zizi Kodwa and his Bosasa BFF 

Zizi Kodwa, head of President Cyril Ramaphosa's office at Luthuli House, is a close friend and associate of Bosasa's flashy spin doctor and director, Papa Leshabane.

A series of photos from Leshabane's Facebook account reveal the proximity between him and one of Ramaphosa's closest advisers. Both men confirmed they have been friends for more than a decade.

Leshabane and other Bosasa executives, including CEO Gavin Watson, have been directly implicated in Bosasa's reign of corruption at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

In a secret video recording exposed by former henchman Angelo Agrizzi, Leshabane is seen holding a bag of cash which, according to Agrizzi, was used to bribe correctional services officials and journalists. 

18 Feb 10:25


Mantashe gives media tour of his properties to clarify Bosasa security upgrades claims 

Former ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said that if he and his security team were aware of wide-scale corruption at Bosasa, they would not have interacted with Bosasa staff to install CCTV systems at his homes.

"Hindsight is an exact science. Maybe if we knew what we know now, we would not have interacted with Papa [Leshabane] on this matter," Mantashe told journalists who were invited on a tour of his Boksburg home on Saturday morning.

Leshabane is a director of Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, and is a close friend to Mantashe’s daughter Nombasa and her husband, Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela.

Cameras and spotlights pointed out by Mantashe’s former head of security at the ANC, Mzonke Nyakaza, are the same as what was installed by Bosasa staff, News24 can confirm. 

18 Feb 10:25


Agrizzi 'wants to finish' what he started at Zondo commission - lawyer 

Ex-Bosasa boss turned whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi is not going to let his arrest this week stop him from continuing his testimony before the state capture commission of inquiry.

According to his lawyer, Daniel Witz of Witz Attorneys, Agrizzi wants to finish what he started, despite being hauled before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria this week on charges of money laundering and fraud.

Agrizzi, together with former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, former Bosasa senior staffer Frans Vorster, current Bosasa employee Carlos Bonifacio and former correctional services top brass Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti were also arrested and charged. 

18 Feb 10:25


Ex-correctional services boss Linda Mti out on R20 000 bail 

Former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti has been granted R20 000 bail. 

Mti appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on Thursday for corruption after he handed himself over to police.

The prosecutor said Mti flew from the Eastern Cape on Thursday morning. 

"He came at his own accord. The State does not have any reason to oppose bail," Sandy Nkula-Nyoni said. 

18 Feb 10:25


The story behind the 'sudden' Bosasa arrests: Tender rigging and a strategy to slay the beast 

The surprising arrests of Bosasa bosses and correctional services top brass on Wednesday have nothing to do with explosive testimony by the same former Bosasa executives before the state capture commission.

We are not seeing the persecution of whistleblowers, but rather the culmination of a prosecutorial process that started a decade ago and was delayed, allegedly, by bribes paid to top prosecutors and political interference.

And while the optics of this stunning twist in the Bosasa story seem skewed, it may, in fact, be a well-devised strategy by prosecutors to ensure they are able to get the evidence they need to bring the entire Bosasa cabal to justice.  

Despite this, the quasi-arrests of Angelo Agrizzi, Andries van Tonder and former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham and their subsequent appearance in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court may come as a surprise to many, especially following Agrizzi and Van Tonder's explosive testimony before the state capture commission of inquiry. 

18 Feb 10:25


Flights, cash and cars: Here are the charges bringing down the Bosasa empire 

Nearly a decade after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) first found evidence of a corrupt and improper relationship between Bosasa and correctional services officials, five men have been arrested.  

Former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham, former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi and former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder briefly appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday along with former Bosasa senior manager Frans Vorster and current Bosasa staff member, Carlos Bonafacio. 

They are being charged with several counts of money laundering and violations of the Public Finance Management Act as well as the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

The charges relate to four tenders, worth roughly R2bn, which the Department of Correctional Services awarded to Bosasa between May 2004 and December 2005. 

18 Feb 10:25


Agrizzi, Mti, Gillingham among Hawks' Bosasa arrests 

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi and former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti are among those arrested by the Hawks on allegations of corruption related to the facilities management company.

The Hawks on Wednesday said six suspects had been arrested - with a warrant of arrest issued for a seventh - on allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud.

The arrests also includes former correctional services CFO Patrick Gillingham, Bosasa official Andries van Tonder, and three companies, namely: African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa); Sondolo IT and Phezulu Fencing, according to court papers. 

18 Feb 10:25


'I will kill you' - Bosasa operative to journalist 

News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson told the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture on Tuesday that a public relations executive paid by Bosasa said she would "kill" him if he told anyone about a threatening phone call she had made to him.

Basson was testifying about incidents in and around 2009 and how he was harassed with threatening phone calls while he was investigating revelations of corruption involving management company Bosasa and the Department of Correctional Services. 

Basson told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he discovered that the caller was Benedicta Dube, a former journalist who worked at, among others eTV and Financial Mail, who it was also established was being paid by Bosasa.

18 Feb 10:25


EXCLUSIVE: Pictures show how Bosasa installed security systems at Gwede Mantashe's Eastern Cape home 

New evidence has emerged of Bosasa staff installing security upgrades at the Cala, Eastern Cape, home of ANC national chairperson and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.

Photographs of a Bosasa employee at the property, ostensibly at work installing an expensive CCTV system and perimeter lighting, were provided to News24 by an anonymous source.

Mantashe did not deny or confirm that the pictures depicted his home in Cala when approached for comment on Monday. Instead, he accused News24 of "running a parallel propaganda project".

He called the pending publication of the pictures a "pre-emptive strike", as he planned to take journalists to the properties this coming weekend so that they could "see what is there and what is not there". 

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