The state capture inquiry continued on Monday. After Angelo Agrizzi was relieved for the time being after his fiery testimony on Thursday and Friday, it was the special investigative unit’s (SIU) turn to face questions from Advocate Paul Pretorius, SC.
Clint Oellermann was the lead investigator of the SIU before he left the position in 2012, three years after the investigative body submitted its report on Bosasa.
Oellermann, on Monday, was questioned about the SIU’s methodology and strategy in probing corrupt activities between the facilities management company and government.
State capture inquiry: Clint Oellerman takes the heat
The former lead investigator told the inquiry that the SIU, first and foremost, was not law enforcement.
They reported their investigative results to the national prosecuting authority, who in turn, pursued criminal charges against implicated officials at their own discretion.
Secondly, the investigative unit could only perform within the scope of the proclamations that were signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018, which, as reported by EWN, include:
Proclamations SIU operates under
• serious irregularities in relation to the procurement of goods and/or services in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective contrary to the applicable legal framework• improper or unlawful conduct by employees or officials;
• unlawful appropriation of expenditure or public money or property;
• unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon State property;
• intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property; and
• unlawful or improper conduct by any person, which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public or any category thereof.
“Gavin Watson was untouchable” – Oellermann
Oellermann noted that people at the top of the pyramid, like Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, were untouchable because of certain limitations.
Although, as reported by Citizen, Oellermann’s team had circumstantial evidence that pointed to the CEO, they could not find a shred of his signature in any irregular document.
This is what Oellermann told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. After Bosasa had obtained a court interdict in response to the report, the SIU was not able to interview material witnesses.
“We received some information that Mr Watson was aware of what was going on at all times […] we never had the opportunity to test allegations with him or present evidence to him,
“The evidence that we got was often hearsay evidence […] what we were informed is that we would never find Mr Watson’s signature on a document,” Oellermann told the inquiry.
He did note that the evidence they had on Watson had to be tested before they could approach him since Watson was aware and constantly attempting to keep his nose clean.
At the time of publication, the inquiry had adjourned after Oellermann concluded his testimony.