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DA calls for action on ‘prison bribery’ report

The DA on Sunday called on Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to lay criminal charges against those allegedly involved in a correctional services bribery scandal.

“The minister needs to take strong action in light of these reports, further criminal charges against the involved parties need to be instituted and all Bosasa’s current and future contracts halted,” the Democratic Alliance’s James Selfe said in a statement.

He was reacting to a City Press article citing a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report which revealed an “improper and corrupt” relationship between senior correctional services officials and the Bosasa group, which had received large contracts since 2004 to provide catering, security equipment, televisions and fencing to prisons.

The company apparently built former prisons boss Linda Mti a R30-million house in Midrand. Bosasa, headed by businessman Gavin Watson, received tenders worth R1,5-billion under his watch. The department’s former chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham was allegedly also involved.

No sign of ‘real progress’
He allegedly received cash, cars, a kitchen and payments towards a house, according to the SIU report. Gillingham also allegedly carried business cards indicating he was a “consultant” to a Bosasa affiliate, while working for correctional services.

Said Selfe: “It is difficult to understand why criminal investigations may have taken this long, without any sign of real progress. That a R30-million luxury house was apparently handed over as a gift to Mr Mti by Bosasa is clearly most irregular, and points, one would have thought, to a strong prima facie case against Mr Mti.”

Bosasa was allegedly involved in drafting tender documents for contracts it won, in a way that gave it a clear advantage when these tenders were awarded.

The newspaper reported it was in possession of a copy of the report the SIU handed to Mapisa-Nqakula in September 2009.

Selfe said it was “perturbing that Bosasa has had is contracts renewed and continues to be awarded new contracts”.

The department was not immediately available for comment on Sunday. – Sapa

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