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Suspended Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair faces charges over alleged Bosasa home security upgrade gratification payments

Suspended Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair faces charges over alleged Bosasa home security upgrade gratification payments
Suspended Pretoria chief magistrate Desmond Nair. (Photo: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Theana Breugem)

The charges relate to corrupt dealings that the chief magistrate in Pretoria magistrate's office allegedly had with Bosasa — awarding security features valued at R200,000.

Desmond Nair appeared briefly in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, facing charges of corruption. His arrest came after he was warned to appear in court and hence no application for bail was required.

The allegations stem from alleged corrupt dealings Nair had with African Global Operations/Global Technology Systems (formerly known as Bosasa) dating back to September 2016. 

It is the State’s contention that Nair received gratification in the form of an electric fence, an alarm system, perimeter beams and a CCTV system from Operations/Global Technology Systems in September 2016 at his Pretoria Silverton home.

Charge sheet

Nair’s name appears in the third volume of Judge Raymond Zondo’s report on State Capture, which lists more than 60 individuals recommended for prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Nair was not the only high-profile person to get security upgrades from Bosasa. In 2019, Richard le Roux, former Bosasa IT specialist, told the commission that former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi instructed him to oversee security installations at Nair’s Pretoria home and those of other ministers, including Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane.

Explaining the charges against Nair, Investigating Directorate National Spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said: “In the charge sheet, we allege that he was granted the upgrades for his influence to act in a dishonest or improper manner.”

Seboka also confirmed that Nair had been suspended quite some time ago. Nair’s suspension comes after the Magistrates Commission briefed the National Council of Provinces in March 2020.

The Committee then heard that the misconduct charges against Nair related to the allegations stemming from 2016.

The Chairperson of the Ethics Committee Magistrates Commission at that juncture also informed the Committee the security system installed at Nair’s residence may unduly influence him in the execution of his official duties or create the impression that this was the case.

Former ANC Parliamentarian Vincent Smith is also named among the more than 60 individuals recommended for prosecution by the NPA.

In this matter, Agrizzi stands accused of offering gratification on behalf of Bosasa to Smith, in exchange for his influence, as the then chairperson of Parliament’s oversight committee on Correction Services. Bosasa scored contracts totalling just over R1-billion from the Department of Correctional Services DCS between 2002 and 2007.

The accused in the DCS corruption matter of Bosasa are Agrizzi, former Commissioner of DCS Linda Morris Mti, its former CFO Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder.

This DCS tender was for rendering catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing the perimeter fencing and supplying a television system and monitoring equipment.

Read more in Daily Maverick: How State Capture led to human rights abuses — the case of Bosasa and the prisons.

Ministry of Justice responds

In a statement, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services noted Nair’s appearance in court, adding that misconduct proceedings have also been instituted against Nair.

Following an internal investigation conducted by the Magistrates Commission and the submission of a subsequent report to Parliament, Parliament confirmed Nair’s suspension and that misconduct proceedings instituted by the Magistrates Commission against him are in progress.

Regarding the criminal charges, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola is quoted as saying, “All persons are equal before the law, whether they are lay persons or officers of the court. The law must now take its course, as it would in every criminal case. Justice must not only be done, but manifestly be seen to be done.”

The Bosasa matter is back in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes court on Tuesday, 18 October. The Nair matter has been postponed to 7 December 2022 for the defence to make representations. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Angelo Agrizzi says:

    Selective prosecutions or not ? now surely the people who offered the gratifications should be charged Mr T Mathenjwa Director of GTS and Mr JD Gumede Director and Chairman of the Bosasa group – or once more let’s rather keeep silent on the truth

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