Former chief operations officer of Bosasa Angelo Agrizzi testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry hearing in Parktown, Gauteng. File picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA) 16.01.2019

Johannesburg - Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson ensured that former correctional services CFO Patrick Gillingham’s lifestyle, which included an R110 000 monthly salary, was fully funded by Bosasa. 

The controversial businessman even ensured that Gillingham had a house built and funded by Bosasa. When Gillingham was going through a divorce, Bosasa came to his rescue. 

These details were revealed by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi who told the inquiry that he was responsible for ensuring that all of Gillingham’s needs were attended to. 

Agrizzi was told by Watson that Gillingham and former prisons boss Linda Mti had been responsible for Bosasa being award dozens of correctional services contracts worth millions of rands. 

Agrizzi said he was not aware of the full extent of the relationship between Watson and Gillingham until he read the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) report into the corruption at Bosasa involving Mti and Gillingham. 

He said while the SIU was conducting its investigation, Gillingham’s house was raided and large amounts of cash were found in his vault. Gillingham was also suspended around the same time and he later resigned. 

Agrizzi said Gillingham was nervous about this raid, but Watson assured him that he would be taken care. 

“Gavin told Patrick not to worry as he was concerned about his pension. He was not worried about his job because he was getting money from Bosasa. Gavin said Bosasa would stand in and cover his pension fund if they had to. Gavin told me to check how much it is  (pension) so we could make a contingency plan. 

“Gavin also told him not worry about his legal fees as they would be funded by Bosasa and that we would make use of an arms-length company to pay for the legal fees,” said Agrizzi. 

Later, Agrizzi and Gillingham met with an attorney from BBK Attorneys which would provide assistance to Gillingham over his possibly pending legal issues regarding his alleged involvement in corruption. A dormant company would be used to help pay for the legal bill.

Gillingham had a house built by Bosasa, and Agrizzi said its maintenance was funded by Bosasa. 

He revealed that Gillingham’s R110 000 salary from Bosasa was later included in the payroll of a company called BEE Foods. Gillingham did not perform any work for the company but simply earned a salary. 

In January, Agrizzi had also revealed that Bosasa purchased cars for Gillingham and his children. He was also entitled to one overseas holiday a year, according to Agrizzi. 

The former COO also told the commission about Consilium Trading which was used to simply push Bosasa invoices. He said the company did no services for Bosasa but simply existed as a vehicle for Bosasa. 

Agrizzi said a number of people were paid their monthly salaries half from Consilium and the other half from Bosasa. The Watsons were paid from the company, even he was paid through the company. Other directors were also paid through the company.