Johannesburg – The Zondo commission heard how Bosasa officials went to extensive lengths to erase thousands of documents that detailed the corrupt relationship between Bosasa and the correctional services department.
Advocate Paul Pretorius, for the commission, read through the report compiled by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into the corruption between the department and Bosasa, a facilities management company which was award a number of tenders. The report was finalised in 2009.
The SIU had requested access to Bosasa’s computer servers system in 2008 and a week before the unit was to copy the information on the company’s system they were requested to wait a week before they could access the servers, Pretorius read.
The report detailed how when the forensic investigators had access to the computer servers, it was clear that a computer virus had been installed which resulted in numerous documents being overwritten and deleted.
Angelo Agrizzi confirmed that his computer and that of other officials were searched and duplicated. He said he was aware that the week delay was to allow for more time to erase data from the system which could incriminate the company.
The former Bosasa chief operations officer said Bosasa was advised by lawyers not to delete information from the system, but employees were told to go ahead with deleting the data.
"The purpose of the deletions was sinister to make sure that all the tracks were covered up," said Agrizzi.
"I am not aware what exactly was deleted either than the fact that it involved department of correctional service contracts, reference to Gillingham and also what the media was reporting on regarding the SIU investigation," he said.
In a period of four days close to a thousand folders and 7000 documents were overwritten with random data and deleted from Bosasa’s main server.
A similar computer virus was found in former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham’s home computer although it was not to the extent as the one found at Bosasa.
"I am aware of that, well aware of it," said Agrizzi with regards to the software found in Gillingham’s home computer.
Agrizzi had earlier confirmed that Gillingham and former commissioner Linda Mti were instrumental in assisting Bosasa in obtaining correctional services tenders. The two had also received payments from the company for their efforts.
The SIU was, through the use of cyber experts, able to recoup some of the data from Bosasa’s server even after efforts to conceal the information regarding the contracts awarded to the company.
Agrizzi’s testimony on Wednesday largely focused on the SIU report and corroborating his evidence with the report. He has confirmed that he never spoke to the unit during the investigation.
The inquiry continues.