Johannesburg - A former Bosasa auditor has confirmed to the Zondo commission that Bosasa helped settle former SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng's over R1 million legal bill.
Peet Venter took the stand on Tuesday. He is a former employee of D’Arcy-Herrman & Co, an accounting and auditing firm that was contracted by Bosasa. Bosasa is now known as African Global Operations.
Venter told the inquiry that he was approached by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson in August 2017 that he needed to help him pay for Motsoeneng's legal fees.
At the time, Venter had a dormant company called Miotto Trading which he often used to make questionable payments on behalf of Bosasa. Earlier he said the company had been registered under the name of his relative, but that he operated it.
Following up on Watson's orders, Venter received an invoice from a Walter Jele from Majavu Attorneys. Majavu Attorneys is operated and owned by Zola Majavu, Motsoeneng's lawyer.
The former SABC chief operations officer had had a year-long battle after he faced disciplinary charges at the SABC in 2017. He also had various legal court challenges connected to his controversial role at the public broadcaster.
Venter said he made two payments to Majavu Attorneys. The first payment was made on August 20 for payment of R600 000 and the second on August 21 for payment of R587 656.82.
In total, R1 187 656.82 was paid towards Motsoeneng's legal fees.
Venter also confirmed details about the R500 000 payment his dormant company made towards President Cyril Ramaphosa's 2017 ANC presidential campaign.
Venter said the money was paid from Watson's account into Miotto's account.
He said he got a request from Watson to make a payment of R500 000 into the trust account of Andile Ramaposa, the son of the deputy president at the time.
"An R500 000 payment into EFG2 an ABSA bank account was made, I was merely told it was for a foundation/ trust of Andile Ramaphosa, the son of the deputy president of the Republic of South Africa. I found this strange but wouldn't dare question, Gavin Watson. Payment was made into Miottos bank account and then to the account," said Venter.
The EFG2 bank account was revealed, by News24, to belong to the Ramaphosa campaign’s legal firm.
When the payment came to light last year and Ramaphosa was faced with multiple questions from opposition political parties on why his campaign would accept money from a company which has been accused of corruption.
When asked in Parliament last year, Ramaphosa first said the payment was made to his son, Andile, who had business interests with Bosasa. He then changed his story in a letter to Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete outlining that the payment was indeed intended as a donation for his campaign. He said he was not aware of this and had only been recently informed and that’s why he had done a U-turn on his first denial.
The president said the money would be paid back.
Venter also told the commission how he was tasked into handling tax consultancy matters of former correctional services officials Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti.
The two have been accused of accepting bribes from Bosasa in exchange for awarding of various correctional services contracts. Venter said his tax services were billed to Bosasa.
He told the commission that he resigned from his employment in August 2018 after former Bosasa CEO Angelo Agrizzi sent the statement he had written in December 2017 to his employer.
Agrizzi was at the time aggrieved that Venter had stopped communicating with him regarding exposing Watson’s corrupt activity at Bosasa.