Mokonyane ‘showered with cash, expensive gifts’
DURBAN - Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has come under the spotlight after former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi claimed that she had received millions in cash bribes and gifts for over a decade from Bosasa.
He detailed how - for years - he had been assigned to shower Mokonyane with monthly allowances of R50000 in cash and annual Christmas gifts.
Yesterday, Agrizzi continued his explosive testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, which has been lifting the lid on political figures and government officials who secured bribes in cash in exchange for state contracts and political influence.
“There was a list of items which was the same more or less every year. It might have changed a little bit year on year, but it was 120 cases of cold drink, 4 cases of high quality whiskey, 40 cases of beer, 8 lambs, 12 cases of frozen chicken, 200kg of beef in various braai packs and numerous cases of premium brandy and some speciality alcohol,” Agrizzi said.
He said Mokonyane’s other requests had included catering for ANC rallies, renovations to her homes and the festivities of other political figures, including former president Jacob Zuma, whose cake he claimed to have personally designed for his 72nd birthday in 2014.
“These included organising and paying for funerals in respect of deceased family members. I would have to arrange for a rental vehicle for up to three months at a time for her daughter who was coming from China where she was studying.
“We would get ridiculous requests in the middle of the night, saying that we needed to sort out birthday party cakes, cater for supporters. We would have to just do it,” Agrizzi said.
He said he was not happy with the continued payments and gifts given to Mokonyane, something he said he had raised with Bosasa boss Gavin Watson.
“I was very disappointed that we had spent a lot of effort and a lot of time and a lot of money had been paid out to Mokonyane with hardly any return in terms of value, like some of what happened with the other people,” he said.
“The biggest concern was that I must be very careful because she has a lot of clout and that if we did not do what she wanted, we would not have her protection.
“We needed her support for the protection from the Special Investigations Unit, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority,” Agrizzi said.
But Mokonyane has lodged a formal objection to the commission about the way this testimony was aired.
ANC MP Vincent Smith was also not spared by Agrizzi’s explosive testimony. He said that while Smith had asked for a loan to fund studies for his daughter, the R100000 he had secured from Bosasa was part of the bribes which the company paid to ANC MPs to help ensure that their attitudes were favourable to it.
“He did approach me for a loan and what he offered to do was to sell me his shares in a hospital at Waterfall Estate, which I refused. I said it would contravene every BEE rule in the book and it would be very obvious if it came directly to me. I did not give Mr Smith any loans,” he said.
Agrizzi also testified on how bribes which were illicitly given to officials at Correctional Services by Bosasa were substantially increased when Tom Moyane was appointed national commissioner.
“The initial amount was R500000 a month. The amount was amended to increase to R750000 and this is when the commissioner was appointed,” he said.
Agrizzi also told the commission that Moyane had continued to protect contracts which were enjoyed by Bosasa even when they came under scrutiny.
“For instance, a letter was written to Moyane by a certain journalist querying (contracts with) Bosasa and it was just simply put away,” he said.
- THE MERCURY