Bosasa bribed SOE officials to win lucrative contracts, inquiry hears
JOHANNESBURG - The Commission of Inquiry probing allegations of state capture on Wednesday heard that services firm, Bosasa Facilities Management, had allegedly captured union bosses to do its bidding at Sasol and other State-owned enterprises, including the Post office and Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa).
Angelo Agrizzi, former Bosasa marketing coordinator and chief operations officer (COO), told deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that union boss Simon Mofokeng was on Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson's payroll to pressure Sasol into giving Bosasa contracts.
Agrizzi also said that Mofokeng, who was the general secretary of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union (Ceppwawu) at the time, was receiving monthly groceries and cash payments for his bidding and that his wife got hired by Bosasa as a result.
Agrizzi said that Watson had bought his business partner, Danny Mansell, out of Bosasa after the relationship between the two deteriorated and used the shares he bought from Mansell as a front for Black Economic Empowerment.
Apparently, Watson embarked on an aggressive campaign to acquire a number of contracts in the catering and facility management industry.
Agrizzi said one day, Watson called him to attend a meeting with Mofokeng, whose purpose was to sort out the catering tender at Sasol. At this meeting, Mofokeng apparently advised Watson and Agrizzi to adjust their price for the tender.
"When [we] arrived in May 1999, Watson instructed me to go with someone to adjust pricing structure in the Sasol tender. Watson asked me to meet Mofokeng and put pressure on him so he can put pressure on his union to force a work stoppage so Sasol management could give Bosasa the tender. It was usual of Dyambu to put pressure on the union," he said.
Dyambu Operations changed to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd in November 2000.
Bosasa's catering contract with Sasol ran between 1999 until 2002 when it was unbundled, and then sold to a company owned by Gregg Lacon-Allan who had worked with Agrizzi at Molope Foods.
"I normally got orders to prepare Mofokeng's groceries monthly. Watson instructed me to bring various things, grocery things, braai packs and cold drinks, to be delivered to Simon Mofokeng," Agrizzi said.
"The costs were then recorded as operational costs in the company books. Each order would costs between R10,000 to R15,000, but sometimes Mofokeng would call requesting more meat for his package."
Agrizzi also told the inquiry that when Bosasa was awarded a five-year contract by Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) to guard the multi-story parkade at OR Tambo Airport in 2001, he would take stacks of cash to the airport to make payments to certain individuals from Acsa in bags similar to police evidence bags.
Agrizzi also said there were instances when directors would come to Watson, in Agrizzi's company, to ask for money for bribes, and Watson would walk into his walk-in vault located in the company's boardroom to get money. He said the bribes ranged from as little as R5,000 to more than R1 million.
He said Bosasa spent between R4 million to R6 million a month in cash for bribes.
"That was a drop in the ocean in-comparison to their monthly turnover. The money in Watson's walk-in vault was used for bribes and nothing else," Agrizzi said.
The inquiry adjourned for the day. Agrizzi will continue his testimony on Thursday.
African News Agency (ANA)