South Africa said on Monday it had cancelled contracts with services firm Bosasa after one of the company’s former executives told a judicial inquiry he had handed out cash bribes in designer bags to politicians.
Bosasa’s former chief operating officer, Angelo Agrizzi, told the anti-graft hearing in January he and others had paid millions of rand to lawmakers and bureaucrats to get contracts, including deals to supply food to prisons.
He and four other former employees at the privately owned company were arrested weeks later on charges of corruption and fraud.
The firm has declined to comment on the case and did not respond to calls on Monday. It said last week it had applied for voluntary liquidation after its banks told it they would close its accounts.
Bosasa – also known as African Global Operations – is the latest in a series of companies to suffer penalties since President Cyril Ramaphosa came to power a year ago, promising to root out corruption.
“In light of the testimony made at the Zondo Commission, the Department of Correctional Services made an undertaking that all large-scale contracts would be reviewed,” Justice Minister Michael Masutha said in a statement.
Bosasa had been served with a 30-day notice to cancel contracts for nutritional services at seven facilities where it fed more than 46 000 inmates, Masutha said. Plans were in place to keep up food supplies, he added, without going into details.
Opposition parties, who are preparing to challenge Ramaphosa in May elections, say graft has flourished under his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
The hearings led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo were set up to look into accusations that corporate interests including the Gupta brothers – the heads of one of the country’s biggest conglomerates – unduly influenced former president Jacob Zuma.
Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.