Hawks arrest former correctional services commissioners and Bosasa officials

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Seven suspects aged between 78 and 50 years old were arrested on Wednesday by the Directorate for Priority Investigations (known as Hawks) on allegations of corruption, money laundering, and fraud.

The sweeping high-profile arrests follow a marathon investigation wherein almost R1.6 billion is said to have been misappropriated in the tender processes for the procurement of various services by the department of correctional services (DCS). The tenders were awarded to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd and its affiliated or subsidiary companies.

The Hawks said those arrested included officials from the DCS and Bosasa officials.

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

In a statement, the Hawks said 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 underway to bring him back to Pretoria to face the charges, the Hawks added.

The National head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has welcomed the arrest of the suspects.

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

The five of the original eight suspects, including three companies, are expected to appear today at the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Court.

Testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture in recent weeks by former Bosasa employees and contractors, including the company’s former COO Angelo Agrizzi and CFO Andries van Tonder, implicated former officials at the DCS in the alleged corruption at the company and department, including the department’s former commissioner Linda Mti and its former CFO Patrick Gillingham, as well as the company’s CEO Gavin Watson.

Makhosandile Zulu / The Citizen