Prison official's wife, son, daughter also got a car each from Bosasa

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo at the state capture inquiry, on August 20 2018, in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo at the state capture inquiry, on August 20 2018, in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Image: Alaister Russell

Former Bosasa employee Frans Vorster has detailed how the company allegedly bribed senior correctional services department official Patrick Gillingham with cars and cash to secure lucrative catering contracts in 2004.

Vorster, the third witness from Bosasa to appear before the state capture inquiry, told deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday that he regularly handed between R5,000 and R20,000 to Gillingham for information on contracts. Gillingham worked as a provincial commissioner for the department at the time.

He also admitted that he facilitated the purchase of cars for Gillingham, his wife and his son between 2005 and 2007.

Vorster, who managed Bosasa's dealings with the Lindela Repatriation Centre in 2003, said Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson approached him that year to get in touch with Gillingham over catering contracts at the correctional services department.

"I approached [Gillingham]. I explained to him that Bosasa would like to get involved in the catering sector in correctional services. I then met with [Gillingham] regularly. I was called to head office by [Watson]. We went to the vault where he would hand cash to me. Those days it was handed to you, and I would put it in my pocket," Vorster said.

"I would meet with [Gillingham] at certain restaurants in the Pretoria, Centurion, area. We would discuss the [specifications] of kitchens of correctional services ... He would give me information in return [for the cash]."

Bosasa secured a lucrative catering contract with the department in 2004. Afterwards, Bosasa allegedly bought a range of cars for Gillingham and his family.

Vorster admitted that in 2005 he facilitated the purchase of a VW Golf for Gillingham's wife, then in 2006 a VW Polo was bought for Gillingham's son.

In 2007, Gillingham is said to have needed an upgrade on his own car. Vorster says he ordered a Mercedes E320, but he was not allowed to take delivery of the vehicle on Gillingham's behalf because of new rules Mercedes had introduced at the time.

Vorster said he then registered a company, Oakridge Trading, and registered himself and Gillingham as directors. Gillingham could then take delivery of the vehicle in compliance with Mercedes' rules.

Earlier on Wednesday, former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder told the commission that Watson instructed him to buy a VW Polo for Gillingham's daughter.

The hearing continues.

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