Zondo commission: It’s Agrizzi again

The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture is set to continue on Monday, with former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi expected to continue delivering his bombshell testimony.

Agrizzi’s evidence, which he began giving last Wednesday, was kept under wraps because of alleged threats to his life in the lead-up to his appearance before the commission.

Agrizzi has made allegations of fraud, corruption and money laundering against Bosasa and its “charismatic” chief executive Gavin Watson.

According to an affidavit submitted by Frank Dutton, the commission’s lead investigator, Watson’s former “right-hand man” will implicate 38 individuals during the course of his evidence.Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni was the first to be implicated in Agrizzi’s evidence, after Dutton’s affidavit revealed she had allegedly shared confidential National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) documents with him and Watson at a 2015 meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria.

The documents allegedly outlined the ongoing investigation by the Hawks and the NPA into Bosasa, which has been plagued with allegations of misconduct for over a decade.

A News24 report published over the weekend revealed new details about the alleged meeting, including how Myeni fits into the picture Agrizzi has so far painted of the alleged widespread corruption at Bosasa which was facilitated in part by the ubiquitous bribery of state officials.

According to the report, Agrizzi will tell the commission of how Watson handed Myeni R300 000 in cash at the Sheraton Hotel meeting.

The money was reportedly destined to land in the coffers of the Jacob Zuma Foundation of which Myeni is the head.

Agrizzi is also expected to reveal how Watson wanted the former president to interfere in the investigation into Bosasa, News24 reported. Agrizzi will reportedly claim that Myeni told him and Watson that she was trying to “shut down” the case against the company.

The Special Investigating Unit’s two-year probe into alleged fraud and corruption at Bosasa was completed in 2009. The unit’s report was handed over to the NPA.

The NPA’s investigation has been completed, the authority confirmed on Saturday.

The SIU’s 2009 report on the company found that Bosasa officials had paid bribes to former prisons boss Linda Mti and the department of correctional services’ then chief financial officer, Patrick Gillingham, to secure tenders from the department.

Last week, Agrizzi confirmed that Gillingham was paid bribes by Bosasa.

“Most definitely money was paid to Patrick Gillingham. I was involved,” he said.

Agrizzi has alleged that Bosasa kept vaults filled with money which was used to bribe state and company officials. The company spent up to R6-million in bribes every month and the vaults had to be restocked with cash weekly, Agrizzi said.

Last Friday, Agrizzi revealed the numerous cash generation schemes Bosasa had to keep replenishing its coffers.

One such scheme allegedly involved laundering money through an employee death benefits scheme, purportedly set up to give support to bereaved workers who had lost family members.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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