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Taxpayers paid Bosasa bribes



Bosasa had a wide network of government contracts and issued more than R75 million in bribes, which taxpayers paid when the bribes were factored into the cost of the contracts.

The irregular tenders and contracts were provided to government services such as the Department of Judicial Institutions (DCS), Justice and State Development and the Department of the Interior. According to the report of the Zondo Commission, the total value of the contracts awarded to Bosasa companies by various public entities and departments between 2000 and 2016 was estimated at more than R2 billion.

“During the period from 2004 to 2007, Bosasa acquired contracts from the DCS, including a catering service in seven management areas, the Sondolo IT television network system contract for each cell in each correctional center and the Phezulu Fencing.

“Most of these contracts had specific terms for their renewal and maintenance,” the report said.

The DSC catering contract was valued at R580 million and the estimated cash bribes paid were approximately R15 million.

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The report revealed that former Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson wanted to eradicate existing catering contracts in mines and get involved in the management of catering facilities.

With regard to the first attempts to win the catering contract, testimony from former Bosasa employee Frans Vorster – who, according to the report Watson said in 2003, introduced him to Patrick Gillingham, who at the time was the DCS commissioner for Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng and the project leader for the tender.

Vorster said Gillingham wanted to get involved in… the DCS catering industry and they had met regularly. The frequency of their meetings depended solely on the amount of information needed. He didn’t take cash to Gillingham every time though, but when he did it was usually around R20,000.

When asked whether those meetings with Gillingham “paid any fruit,” Vorster replied: “Yes, that led to us getting the catering contract awarded to us in 2004.”

The contract award showed how all bids fell under the supervision of former Chief Operating Officer-turned-whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi. Bosasa was awarded the contract with an annual value of approximately R239 million for a period of three years.

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“Mr Agrizzi explained that the cost was manipulated by doubling the price of a special meal and making those meals run at a 70/30 ratio instead of the 90/10 ratio,” says Zondo.

“This resulted in monthly costs that were on average 35% higher, with the DCS paying closer to R310 million rather than the

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