Agrizzi: Over R70mn in Bosasa bribes paid to secure state contracts

Bosasa paid over R70-million in “gratuities” to retain its state contracts, the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Thursday.

On his return to the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi tallied the amount the firm paid to keep milking provincial and government contracts.

But the R70-million Bosasa allegedly spent paying off officials pales in comparison to the amount the firm made from these contracts between 2000 and 2016. By Agrizzi’s estimate, the total value Bosasa amassed over the same period was over R2-billion.

Bosasa has secured lucrative contracts with the department of correctional services, the department of home affairs and the department of justice and constitutional development.

When asked by evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius SC if the state received value for money from its contracts with Bosasa, Agrizzi said certain aspects of the contracts were valuable to the state. “But in certain aspects, no,” he admitted.

In February, the Mail & Guardian revealed that Bosasa amassed R12-billion from government contracts in just over a decade.

READ MORE: The Bosasa tally: R12-billion

Out of about 10 000 invoices analysed by the M&G, provided by the treasury from its database, the sum of government contracts invoiced by Bosasa and its entities between mid-2003 and the beginning of this year amounted to R12  282  374  003.

According to the M&G report, there may be dozens of other invoices that have not been reflected in treasury’s database and are still to come to light.

The controversial firm’s contracts with the department of correctional services have been under scrutiny for over a decade. Bosasa has held multimillion rand tenders with the department of correctional services since 2004.

In 2007, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) began investigating Bosasa after a series of lucrative tenders were awarded to the company by the department. The SIU investigation uncovered “an improper and corrupt relationship” between the company and civil servants, which included more than R2-million in cash bribes, several cars, holidays and air tickets.

The SIU recommended that the department take action against its former prisons commissioner Linda Mti and its former chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham.

The SIU also recommended that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider prosecuting the pair for their part in four tenders awarded to Bosasa.

The SIU’s 2009 report said: “On the evidence before it, the SIU is accordingly satisfied that the improper and corrupt relationship between Gillingham, [correctional services] commissioner [Linda] Mti and the Bosasa group of companies has seriously undermined the procurement process and exposed the DCS [department of correctional services] to civil suits by competitors who were unfairly treated.”

In February this year Agrizzi, Gillingham, Mti, former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, former Bosasa senior manager Frans Vorster and Bosasa chief accountant Carlos Bonifacio were arrested by the Hawks on charges relating to the SIU report.

Both Agrizzi and Van Tonder gave evidence before the Zondo commission in January, incriminating themselves in allegations of rampant corruption and money laundering at the company.

The pair detailed what they said was an elaborate strategy by Bosasa for generating cash, most of which they allege was kept in the company’s coffers and used to bribe officials in government departments and state entities.

Agrizzi’s earlier testimony implicated over 38 politicians and high-ranking state official in having received cash bribes from Bosasa.

The hearing of Agrizzi’s evidence continues.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

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.

Related stories

Cartoon: No escapé for Signor Agrizzi

Angelo Agrizzi will have to enjoy the South African government’s hospitality for the time being

Sitting targets and lame ducks

Everybody’s staying pozi, which is making all the arrests easy for the Hawks. Only Ace is desperate to be seen

What is the noise about Ace?

The Hawks have distanced themselves from a news report that the ANC’s secretary general Ace Magashule has been issued with a warrant of arrest

Vincent Smith the first to head to court after blitz of Hawks arrests

Former ANC MP Vincent Smith has appeared in the specialised commercial crimes court on charges of corruption and fraud

Mokonyane: ‘There was nothing untoward about the ANC’s Bosasa ties’

The former minister likened the controversial firm to any other private sponsor of the governing party

Mokonyane ‘sets the record straight’ at Zondo commission

Speaking before the Zondo commission, the former minister refuted claims by Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi that she had dodgy ties to the firm

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Vitamin therapy is for drips

It may be marketed by influencers, but intravenous vitamin therapy is not necessary and probably not worth the hype, experts say

Facebook, Instagram indiscriminately flag #EndSars posts as fake news

Fact-checking is appropriate but the platforms’ scattershot approach has resulted in genuine information and messages about Nigerians’ protest against police brutality being silenced

Murder of anti-mining activist emboldens KZN community

Mam’Ntshangase was described as a fierce critic of mining and ambassador for land rights.

Unite with Nigeria’s ‘Speak Up’ generation protesting against police brutality

Photos of citizens draped in the bloodied flag have spread around the world in the month the country should be celebrating 60 years of independence

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday