Former Boxer Superstores executive accused of corruption
A former senior executive of Boxer Superstores, a subsidiary of Pick n Pay, who was in charge of importing meat for all 250 stores in SA, has been accused of taking kickbacks from suppliers.
David Brandsma, who resigned in August 2017 from his position as national food executive, was responsible for buying R40m worth of meat products every month, appeared in Durban’s Commercial Crime Court on Thursday along with his wife Beverley and two of his suppliers, Frederick Hume and Jeffrey Knight.
They are facing hundreds of charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud.
In a statement to the court, prosecutor Wendy O’Brien said the butchery department in each store had the “highest sales and profitability” and were critical to the success of each supermarket.
Brandsma had been employed in 2011. In June 2017, while he was on holiday in the Seychelles, other employees at Boxer discovered that certain invoices, all from suppliers introduced to the company by Brandsma, appeared to be inflated.
“Further investigations revealed there was a corrupt relationship between him and these suppliers,” O'Brien said.
The companies — that are accused in their own rights — are Two Be Sales 5 cc, owned by Brandsma and his wife, Humeat Import and Export, owned by Hume, and South Atlantic Meat Import and Export (trading as Transtrade), owned by Knight.
The charge sheet alleges that Brandsma would receive quotes from the suppliers. He would respond, often in text messages saying “take them” and then Boxer would be invoiced at a later stage for an inflated amount.
It is alleged that between 2013 and 2017, Transtrade deposited more than R33m and Humeat more than R23m into Brandsma’s personal account and into the Two Be Sales account.
Other charges relate to allegations that Brandsma had entered into an “unlawful agreement” with the suppliers, allowing them to add between 10c and R3 a kilogram on to the cost price of products.
All the accused were released on bail of between R50,000 and R75,000.
All stated in affidavits that they would plead not guilty to the charges and said they had been aware of the investigation since 2017 and had co-operated fully with the investigating officer Colonel Piet Du Plooy.
The contents of the bulky docket are to be handed to their legal representatives in February and they will appear in court again in August.
Boxer marketing manager Andrew Mills said the supermarket was the victim in this case.
“The fraud was committed against Boxer and we are determined that the sums will be recovered through the legal process which has taken a significant step forward today.”