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Arrests will help restore hope

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It will not serve the interests of the country to let the commission wrap up its business before criminal proceedings are instituted against the suspects

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THE dramatic arrest of seven people linked to the corrupt awarding of contracts by the Department of Correctional Services to Bosasa is a clear sign that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has turned over a new leaf. The move serves to reassure citizens and financial markets that the new NPA head, advocate Shamila Batohi, is ready to crack down on corrupt officials in the public and private sector.

The seven high-profile individuals who appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court yesterday were charged with fraud, money laundering and corruption. They include former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi, whose testimony at the Zondo Commission of inquiry sh   ocked the country.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the arrest formed part of alleged misappropriation of R1.6billion in the tender processes for the procurement of various services by the Department of Correctional Services.

While the arrest will clearly send a positive message, the taxpayers and the international investors will want to see the Hawks going after senior political figures within the ruling party who have figured in corrupt dealings.

It will not serve the interests of the country to let the commission wrap up its business before criminal proceedings are instituted against the suspects.

Going after politically-connected individuals like former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni, and politicians such as Nomvula Mokonyane and Vincent Smith, will signal the government’s intention to deal with corruption decisively.

Such moves will serve to restore hope at a time when there is nothing to be hopeful for.