#StateCaptureInquiry: ‘Tender documents were erased from Bosasa’s server’

Johannesburg – A former Bosasa employee has told the Zondo commission how files sought by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) related to tender documentation were erased from Bosasa’s computer server. 

Leon van Tonder, who worked at Bosasa’s IT department, said in 2008 he was told to delete documents related to tenders that Bosasa had been awarded. The documents contained tender specifications for the contracts awarded to Bosasa by the department of correctional services. 

The company, now known as the African Global Group, had been awarded various tenders for catering, and systems services, which amounted to billions of rands. 

Van Tonder said he was instructed by Gavin Watson to delete data that specifically fell between 2004 and 2007.  

He said he knew the data was being sought by the SIU for their investigation, but he did as he was told and ensured that data was deleted.

"The documents I had to search for related to the tenders that were awarded to Bosasa by the department of correctional services. I reluctantly did abided by the instructions even though I knew it was wrong. In my opinion, it was wrong. If you have nothing to hide from the SIU why do you need to delete files from the server," said van Tonder. 

"I was required to sign a statement saying the files deleted were part of routine maintenance activities on the Bosasa server," van Tonder told the inquiry. 

Faced with a guilty conscious, van Tonder said he decided to make copies of two files related the catering contract and copied them to his hard-drive and also made a CD copy of the files. He said he wanted to use the documents as leverage if he would be implicated by the criminal activity.

He said he handed the hard-drives to a colleague and when that colleague left the company the hard-drives were handed back to him. Van Tonder gave the files to Angelo Agrizzi, the former COO of Bosasa. Agrizzi submitted the files to the Zondo commission.

Van Tonder’s evidence corroborated Agrizzi’s testimony that a decision was made to delete the data contained in the company’s server after the SIU requested to make copies of the server. 

The SIU investigation into corrupt activity at Bosasa was concluded in 2009 and the report was handed to the national prosecuting authority. 

Van Tonder along with another witness, Richard Le Roux, was summoned to appear before the inquiry. 

The inquiry will on Friday hear from another Bosasa witness.


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