The Sunday Times has reported that SARS is going after ANC politicians and businessmen who were involved in Bosasa’s “dodgy dealings”.
According to the report, these individuals can expect tax claims from SARS for more than R250 million.
Apart from the hefty bills, the revenue service is also looking into charging them for “under-declaration of income, overstated expenses, and misrepresentations to SARS”.
Individuals mentioned in the report include minister Nomvula Mokonyane and former SAA chair Dudu Myeni.
Damning bribery and corruption claims
Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was paid bribes and given numerous gifts and favours to try and enlist her support to further the interests of services company Bosasa, according to its former chief operating officer.
Mokonyane received monthly cash payments and other benefits for several years while she was serving in her previous posts as safety and security minister in the central Gauteng province and as the country’s water affairs minister, Angelo Agrizzi told a judicial commission.
Bosasa, which was renamed African Global Operations in 2017, derived little benefit from the payments, he said.
The monthly amount was R50,000 and the money was handed over by the company’s Chief Executive Officer Gavin Watson, Agrizzi told the commission.
The judicial panel, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has previously focused on allegations that members of the Gupta family used their close relationship with Jacob Zuma and other officials to loot state companies – allegations they deny.
Mokonyane denied receiving the payments.
Highlights of Agrizzi’s testimony
Highlights of Agrizzi testimony are below.
- Bosasa gave Mokonyane gifts of meat and alcohol each Christmas, hired her daughter a car, paid for her family’s funerals and helped maintain her houses. When Agrizzi complained that Bosasa wasn’t getting anything from Mokonyane in return, Watson told him that she had political clout and could help protect the company from prosecution.
- Bosasa helped arrange catering for several ANC rallies and supplied a cake for Zuma’s 72nd birthday.
- Bosasa paid R500,000 a month to officials who oversaw South Africa’s prisons, which enabled it to retain lucrative contracts. The monthly amount increased to R750,000 after Tom Moyane, a close Zuma ally, was appointed commissioner of the department.
- The Department of Justice was paid R15 million for its help in securing a tender in 2013, equivalent to 2.5% of the contract price.
- Transport department officials were paid bribes of R300,000 a month to assist Bosasa.
- Three ruling party lawmakers, including Vincent Smith, were paid monthly bribes to protect Bosasa during parliamentary hearings and ensure it wasn’t precluded from winning further government contracts. Smith has previously said Bosasa helped arrange a loan for him, but denied receiving bribes.
Agrizzi said he personally saw bribes being handed over to officials at restaurants and hotels, or paid them himself.
Zuma linked to bribes scandal
Zuma, who quit as South African president last year after being implicated in a string of scandals, is also facing allegations that he took bribes from Bosasa to shield it from prosecution and advance its business interests.
Agrizzi said during Zuma’s rule the company agreed to pay R300,000 a month to his charitable foundation in return for protection from prosecution.
Watson gave the money to Myeni, the foundation’s chairwoman, according to Agrizzi. The former COO said he counted the cash and was present when several payments were made.
“Surely if it’s for a foundation you would do an electronic funds transfer? Why would you you want it in cash?” Agrizzi said. “I don’t think the foundation got anything.”
Zuma has also been accused of allowing members of the Gupta family, who were in business with his son, to influence government contracts and cabinet appointments. Zuma, his son, and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
Additionally, a number of senior ruling African National Congress officials have been implicated in taking bribes.
The full story is available in the Sunday Times.