Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi (centre) appears at the specialised commercial crimes court in Pretoria on Wednesday, February 06 2019. Picture: THE TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL
Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi (centre) appears at the specialised commercial crimes court in Pretoria on Wednesday, February 06 2019. Picture: THE TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

Seven suspects — including former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi — have been charged with corruption, money-laundering and fraud to the value of R1.6bn

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi has confirmed that five of the suspects will appear in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Pretoria on Wednesday morning. 

BusinessLIVE understands that Agrizzi is among those arrested, but Mulaudzi declined to confirm.

He said that the charges relate to a 2009 Special Investigating Unit report on correctional services.

BusinessLIVE has learnt the suspects include former correctional services bosses Linda Mti, Patrick Gillingham, and other Bosasa employees. It is understood that authorities are still searching for Mti.

“It is alleged that the officials received and accepted gifts in the form of cash. They also allegedly received financial assistance in acquiring properties, acquiring motor vehicles from dealers, other assets and payments to travel agents for overseas travel,” Mulaudzi said. 

Former Bosasa chief operations officer and state capture whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi was granted bail of R20,000 after he and several former colleagues appeared in court on Wednesday February 6 2019 in connection with tenders worth R1.6bn that were awarded by the department of correctional services to Bosasa.

“One of the suspects is overseas, however, he has been informed that there is a warrant for his arrest. Another is in Port Elizabeth and efforts are under way to bring him back to Pretoria to face the charges.”

BusinessLIVE understands Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson has not been charged.

Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the arrests.

“I appreciate that the attendance of the accused in court is finally secured. It is a step in the right direction and am looking forward to proper conclusion of the matter with a verdict in court,” he said in a statement. 

Agrizzi, who worked at Bosasa from 1999 to 2016 and was Watson’s right-hand man, testified for more than a week at the commission of inquiry into state capture about corruption and bribes relating to the company’s contracts with the government.

He told the commission that every contract between the state and Bosasa was tainted by bribery and corruption. 

Agrizzi gave details about how Bosasa allegedly gave bribes to Mti and Gillingham and how it provided and furnished Mti’s home and bought cars, among other things, for Gillingham and his daughter.

Bosasa chair Joe Gumede had also allegedly assisted Mti when he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, providing money to bribe officials.

According to Agrizzi, Bosasa continued to pay bribes to Mti even after he was no longer correctional services commissioner.