FORMER chief operations officer of the Department of Justice Minister and Correctional Services Dr Khotso De Wee has “strenuously” denied corruption allegations that he received Bosasa bribes in exchange for contracts.
Bosasa's former chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi told the state capture commission in 2019 that De Wee received an unspecified payment from Bosasa. He said he allegedly handed it to through a third party, known only as Sesinyi Seopela, for De Wee.
The bribe was allegedly related to the awarding of a contract in 2013 to provide a security system for courts across the country.
It’s alleged the contract, worth around R600 million, was awarded to Bosasa subsidiary Sondolo IT, for the provision of CCTV and access control systems at buildings, including courts, administrated by the department across the country.
Agrizzi said he was informed about the bribe but had no other information to confirm its correctness.
At the time of the allegation, De Wee was the secretary of the commission of inquiry into state capture and chose to step down from his position following the allegations.
During his virtual appearance before the commission on Friday, De Wee said the allegations against him were made based entirely on what Agrizzi had allegedly been told by Seopela.
“Accordingly, they are hearsay.
“However, I strenuously deny the correctness of the allegations insofar as reference is made to me in the affidavit of Mr Agrizzi’s evidence. In particular, I strenuously deny each of the following allegations direct or implications that emerges from Mr Agrizzi’s affidavit or evidence,” he said.
De Wee denied that he was aware Seopela was receiving money from Bosasa via Agrizzi and that he, himself, received money from Seopela.
“Aside from what he set out above, I deny that I was involved in any wrongdoing, either of the type alluded to by Mr Agrizzi or at all,” De Wee said.
He said Agrizzi’s allegations had “gravely” harmed and damaged his dignity and reputation.
De Wee said he has been “sitting with this problem” for two years and when the allegations surfaced, he took a “very expensive choice and a very principled choice” to step down as the commission secretary.
“I decided against all persuasion to say, I am going to step down and I'm going to recuse myself, and I did so because I did not want today that anybody should come here and accuse me of meddling with investigations
“Unfortunately, the mistake that I made… I thought this matter will be dealt with in 2019. It went longer than I had thought, and now we are here in 2021 and I'm still faced with these allegations. And I've been very painful, I must tell you.”