State capture inquiry: Menzi Simelane cast doubt on SIU report on Bosasa tenders

2019-04-01 21:08
Menzi Simelane — opportunities remain to test if he is fit to practise as an advocate.

Menzi Simelane — opportunities remain to test if he is fit to practise as an advocate.

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WATCH: State capture inquiry: Bosasa still the centre of attention

2019-04-01 10:52

The Zondo commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture is expected to resume with testimony related to facilities management company Bosasa.WATCH

Former national director of public prosecutions Menzi Simelane cast doubt on the 2009 Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on tenders awarded to Bosasa by the Department of Correctional Services, the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Monday. 

This was revealed during the testimony of former SIU lead investigator Clint Oellermann, who was the lead investigator in the matter. 

The report was received by the National Prosecuting Authority in November 2009. 

Soon after this, advocate Glynnis Breytenbach wrote an email to Simelane asking for guidance on the report. 

However, in a response to Breytenbach in February 2010, Simelane said: "You and your team should withdraw from the case until I am advised that the case is registered with the police." 

But during his testimony on Monday, Oellermann told inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that if people are simply told to withdraw, things come to a halt. 

He said it meant losing momentum, resulting in more delays. 

Oellermann also read out minutes from a ministerial meeting which took place on March 9, 2010. During the meeting Simelane told then minister of justice Jeff Radebe and others about "challenges" with the SIU report. 

Political agenda 

Simelane said the report was contaminated, that it could not hold water in any court of law, and that any presiding officer would not proceed with the report at hand, the commission heard. 

He also added that the SIU report was not in line with the proper administration of justice, and that there was a political agenda and manipulation of the report. 

"What Advocate Simelane is saying, in no uncertain terms to two ministers, was that the prospects of a successful prosecution here are absolutely hopeless," evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius said. 

"Yes," Oellermann replied. 

"I am not aware of any unconstitutionality that was related to the report. The evidence was gathered in terms of the SIU act.

"The investigation was conducted within the parameters of the proclamation and the SIU act. I am not sure what the constitutionality refers to," he said.

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However, nearly a decade after the SIU first found evidence of a corrupt and improper relationship between Bosasa and correctional services officials, the evidence seems to hold water. Now several men have been arrested in the matter.

Former correctional services top brass Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti, former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi and former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder briefly appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court last week, 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 about R2bn, which the Department of Correctional Services awarded to Bosasa between May 2004 and December 2005.

The charges stem directly from the SIU's findings in 2009.

'Gavin Watson's signature not on any document'

Oellermann also told the commission that as part of the investigation, information was received that Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson was aware of irregularities and that he was at the forefront of these allegations.

He said they could not however test the allegations. 

"The evidence we got was often hearsay evidence and what we were informed was that you would never find Mr Watson 's signature on any document," he said. 

Read more on:    menzi simelani  |  zondo commission
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