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#ZondoInquiry hears about Watson’s bribes & cars for the Gillinghams

Andries van Tonder has corroborated the testimony of Angelo Agrizzi, confirming that Bosasa paid bribes to officials at the Correctional Services.

A YouTube screengrab shows former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder at the state capture commission on 29 January 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - Former chief financial officer at Bosasa Andries van Tonder says the company’s CEO Gavin Watson insisted on paying bribes for favours even when he was advised the company was doing good enough to get tenders on merits.

Van Tonder has concluded his testimony at the state capture commission on Wednesday.

He has corroborated the testimony of former executive Angelo Agrizzi; confirming that the facilities management company paid bribes to officials at the Correctional Services.

He also told the commission that the company kept millions of rand in cash at its premise and used it for bribery and corruption.

Van Tonder says he, together with Agrizzi, were concerned about the corruption and bribery at Bosasa: “Agrizzi and I started raising our concerns during the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] investigation about the way things were done at Bosasa in order to get various contracts from the South African government.”

But he says Watson just didn’t want to stop with the crime: “Agrizzi and I believed that Bosasa’s services delivery was good enough to get businesses on merits, while Gavin Watson believed that Bosasa had to bribe people to get new businesses.”

Van Tonder has also told the commission he was involved in destroying documents implicating the company in corruption when the SIU started probing Bosasa.

PATRICK GILLINGHAM ‘CONDUIT’ FOR BOSASA TENDERS

The state capture commission also heard how the family of former Correctional Services Department CFO Patrick Gillingham was showered with a total of five cars as gifts to maintain the corrupt relationship between him and Bosasa.

Agrizzi and Van Tonder also testified about how Gillingham was one of the officials at correctional services who received monthly cash payments of over half a million rand in bribes.

The SIU previously found there was an improper relationship between Bosasa and Correctional Services officials Linda Mti and Gillingham that resulted in the company being awarded four tenders worth at least R2 billion.

Former Bosasa employee Frans Vorster has confirmed what Agrizzi and Van Tonder said about Gillingham that he was a conduit for tenders solely awarded to Bosasa to the exclusion of other potential bidders.

Vorster says in return for this, Bosasa purchased cars for Gillingham’s family.

“Mr Gillingham got two Mercedes [Benz], his wife got a [Volkswagen] Golf, his son got a [Volkswagen] Polo. And the one that Andries van Tonder bought for the daughter was also a Polo.”

This shocked the deputy Chief Justice: “So, now in the household of the Gillinghams; the father was driving a car bought by Bosasa, his wife was driving a car bought by Bosasa, the son was now also driving a car bought by Bosasa.”

Vorster has also confirmed that Gillingham’s house in Midrand was also built and paid for by the company.

He also alleged that the ANC was running its call centre from the facilities management company for its elections.

“We were instructed to prepare for the ANC to run their national [elections] call centre from our facility. The IT department had to set up their computers and they also had opened phone lines for them to use. Exactly what they did from the call centre, I’m not 100% sure, they were about 20 to 25 people that maned the call centre.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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