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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Time running out to freeze assets of those implicated in state capture

Bantu Holomisa and others are urging the state to clamp down on the implicated now, while there may still be something to retrieve.

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, must move to release an interim report and recommend freezing the assets of Bosasa, the company’s bosses and implicated ANC bigwigs before it is too late.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said if the commission failed to act now to freeze the assets, it might find “empty shells” by the time it finished its work, because those involved would have sold it all.

Holomisa has strongly urged freezing the assets of Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, the company’s former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, and the ANC members mentioned in Agrizzi’s testimony. Advocate Paul Hoffman, a director at Accountability Now, said there was no need to wait for the commission to conclude its work. This matter had already been the subject of a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe 10 years ago.

The SIU report should be used as basis to freeze assets and prosecute those implicated.

“The current administration is wrongly under the impression they should wait for the commission to finish. That is nonsense,” Hoffman said yesterday. “There is already an SIU report on which the NPA has been shamefully sitting for 10 years.

“All they need to do is to ensure that the Asset Forfeiture Unit freezes it all.”

Hoffman said waiting for the Zondo report, which might come out in two and three years, was a delaying tactic and the perpetuation of state corruption.

“Their assets should be frozen pending the final report of the commission.

“Some of those implicated should have been prosecuted 10 years ago,” Hoffman said.

In his testimony to the commission, Agrizzi told how Bosasa management bribed top ANC officials with hard cash and gifts to enable the company to get lucrative state tenders.

He implicated former president Jacob Zuma, Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti, as well as a former ANC national executive committee member, who all allegedly received huge monthly payments from Bosasa – with Mokonyane receiving additional favours. He named former correctional services chief and former Sars boss Tom Moyane, whom the Mail & Guardian reported as also having blocked an investigation into the Bosasa graft.

Other names bandied about were suspended NPA deputy national director Nomgcobo Jiba, and the authority’s special director of public prosecutions, Lawrence Mrwebi, who allegedly received monthly payments to protect Bosasa from being prosecuted for its corrupt activities.

“So far there is no doubt that there is overwhelming prima facie evidence against the Bosasa directors and people like Mti and some senior ANC members,” Holomisa said.

“We can’t wait for Zondo to finish before a progress report is released. The commission might finish in 18 months and by that time the damage might have been done and the state might inherit empty shells.”

He said a report that Agrizzi was selling his house in Fourways, north of Johannesburg, for R13 million should raise alarm bells that the culprits were disposing of their assets.

“The commission needs to move with speed, otherwise they would have sold everything when the commission released a final report,” Holomisa said.

“The interim report will help to prevent them from disposing of their assets and serve as a deterrent against those who plan to loot further.”

The UDM leader said that to restore the rule of law the interim report must also recommend that President Cyril Ramaphosa establish a task team comprising of, among other things, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Auditor-General’s Office, the Hawks, Special Investigating Unit and forensic auditors.

“This team should charge these people and there must be special courts on stand-by – as happened during the 2010 soccer World Cup – to deal with cases emanating from the inquiry.”

Judge Robert Nugent’s Sars Commission’s interim report also recommended Moyane be fired and suggested Ramaphosa act immediately, which is exactly what happened.

– ericn@citizen.co.za

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