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OSEO report on Allan Boesak

Office of Serious Economic Offences Report

The Scandinavian donors got the Johannesburg legal firm, Bell, Dewar & Hall, to investigate. The ANC could not accept the allegations, and was upset that their representative at the UN was under investigation. It was suggested that they suspend his appointment until the after the investigation, but the ANC did not want to do this.

The next step was the release of the Bell, Dewar & Hall report, which found that Boesak had enriched himself at the expense of the Foundation for Peace and Justice. The report said that Boesak's monthly expenses exceeded what was reasonable, and that he was helped by the Foundation's bookkeeper, Freddie Steenkamp, who admitted to theft. It was at this point, in February 1995, that Boesak decided to withdraw as ambassador-designate to the UN. The Office for Serious Economic Offences (OSEO) was making preparations for an investigation.

In 1995 Mojanku Gumbi released a report after being instructed to look into the matter by the then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki. This report found no wrong doing on the part of Boesak. Gumbi also said that the Bell, Dewar & Hall report relied too much on evidence by Steenkamp, who had himself also stolen money. In her report Gumbi divided allegations concerning Boesak into two categories - those relating to receipt of money from the urban discretionary fund and from funds relating to staff loans that he received, both from the Foundation.

In the first case, Gumbi found that records were lost and had been reconstructed from memory by Steenkamp. She found entries that could not be substantiated, and held that these records could not be relied on. Also, if the records were accepted, an amount was deposited from Boesak's personal account, meaning he was actually owed money.

In the case of loans, there were entries showing that Boesak had borrowed R95,799,13, not R1,139,439 as reflected in the Bell, Dewar and Hall report. These entries were however also found unreliable and Boesak could have used the money to pay accounts. Bell, Dewar & Hall disagreed with Gumbi's findings, and published a paper explaining their findings. Mbeki responded by saying that Boesak would just need to wait for the findings of the OSEO, although in another statement in 1996 he implied that Boesak was innocent.

Last updated : 14-Apr-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 30-Mar-2011