State capture inquiry: Watson made illegal demands - Venter

2019-03-27 18:15
UNDER FIRE Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson

UNDER FIRE Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson

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Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson used to instruct people to carry out illegal activities, the state capture commission of inquiry heard when former Bosasa auditor Peet Venter testified.

Venter was testifying before inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday.

He said that in October 2017, Watson instructed him to give former correctional services CFO Patrick Gillingham a parcel.

"Mr Watson kept on making illegal demands and I could not take it anymore. The last nail in the coffin was when he told me to meet with Mr Patrick Gillingham to hand him a parcel containing cash," he read from his statement.

READ: AS IT HAPPENED: R500 000 payment to Andile Ramaphosa was fraudulent says Venter, as he concludes testimony at #statecaptureinquiry

Venter said he knew it was cash because it was wrapped "in a bank secure bag".

Watson instructed him to go to the Bosasa offices to meet with his daughter Lindsay, who gave him the parcel, the commission heard.

He said he had a meeting with Gillingham and then handed him the parcel. Although he did not ask what was in the bag, he assumed it was cash.

"I can't say it for a certain but why put in anything else into a bag like this?"

Venter also said Gillingham received R65 000 a month from BEE foods. However, he could not confirm if Gillingham received a Mercedes Benz GLA 200. 

In January, News24 reported that Bosasa senior official, Frans Vorster, testified about the largesse the company bestowed on Gillingham.

Gillingham would take nothing but the best of German engineering – Mercedes Benz, along with some cold, hard cash, the commission heard.

Vorster also testified that Watson would call on him to fulfil Gillingham's every request.

Gillingham, former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, current Bosasa employee Carlos Bonifacio and former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti were arrested in February.

The charges against them include contravening the Public Finance Management Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. The charges stem from a decade-old Special Investigating Unit report handed over to the NPA in 2009, which found an improper and corrupt relationship existed between Bosasa, Gillingham and Mti.

ALSO READ: Agrizzi, co-accused appear before the Specialised Commercial Crime Court

In exchange for cash, cars, homes, flights and holidays - among other gifts - Gillingham and Mti colluded with Bosasa executives to ensure the company was awarded four lucrative Department of Correctional Services tenders worth roughly R2bn between 2004 and 2005.

They appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday where their case was postponed to July 5.

During his testimony on Wednesday, Venter also told the commission: "Watson made use of people to do things for him. There is no evidence pointing to Mr Watson because he used people to do things for him."

Asked to name instances where he was asked to carry out illegal instructions, Venter said he regarded the payment made to former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng as illegal as well as the one made to the foundation of President Cyril Ramaphosa's son Andile because he was not told about them.

"I regard that as illegal because, he did not give too much detail. I just had to follow instructions. It was strange," he said. "You could not point fingers at Watson because he made use of people."

He also said when Watson found out that he was still in contact with Agrizzi and Van Tonder, Watson "discarded" him. 

The hearings continue on Thursday at 10:00.

Agrizzi is expected to testify.

Read more on:    bosasa  |  gavin watson
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