JOHANNESBURG - The Commission of Inquiry probing allegations of State capture adjourned on Thursday in a dramatic fashion after the key witness raised concerns about his safety following a security breach.
Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi said he was concerned about threats on his life after he spotted former policeman and special operations manager at Bosasa, Solomon Segale, who sneaked in using his expired police identity card at the Parktown venue of the inquiry where Agrizzi is testifying.
Agrizzi was put in witness protection after he received death threats when he blew the whistle on corrupt activities at Bosasa, and there are allegations of the release of a prison inmate to kill him.
Agrizzi's appearance before the State Capture Commission -- presided over by deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo -- was kept under wraps until the last minute as a result of the death threats.
A one-hour adjournment for lunch called by Zondo at 1pm on Thursday turned into a two-hour wait as a discussion into the security breach was being held behind the scenes.
"We had to delay resuming after lunch because there was a security situation in the building connected to the hearing that needed to be looked into. It has been looked into. It is necessary that measures be taken to ensure that those who come into this hearing are safe," Zondo said.
"The relevant authorities needed to be given space to do that. So we are going therefore to adjourn proceedings for this afternoon but we will resume tomorrow. The work that this commission has to do is going to continue."
Earlier, Agrizzi showed the Zondo commission a six-minute video evidence showing Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson, his business partner Johannes Gumede and former Bosasa executive director Papa Leshabane counting at least R1 million allegedly used to pay a bribe inside a "walk-in vault" at Bosasa offices where confidential documents were also stored.
Bosasa has been implicated in corruption allegations, doing favours for, and giving donations to influential politicians in return for lucrative government tenders.
Agrizzi also said that Bosasa paid a 15% premium to its staff members to keep quiet about illegal activities, disguised as bonuses, because the money was laundered.
Agrizzi also said Bosasa employees lived in fear of being "taken out" for speaking out because Watson intimidated them, saying that he was once called into a meeting with controversial policeman, Nkosana "Killer" Ximba, which he thinks was aimed at intimidating him.
Ximba has links to former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and in 2015, he was declared unfit to be a policeman due to his history of torture after he had arrested and interrogated convicted Czech drug dealer, Radovan Krejcir.
"I was called at a meeting at Michelangelo [Hotel in Sandton] once with a gentleman named Killer Ximba, he opened up a bag and showed me a .45 colt with a white handle. If you didn't do what was told to you, you became a problem. You had to leave or salaries were cut," he said.
"I did some disposing myself. There was a dustbin with people's names in it. If you started raising your voice and objected, you would easily be sidelined and they would say you were starting to be a problem."
Evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius said those who have been implicated in Agrizzi's testimony have been notified and would be afforded the opportunity to present their case.
The commission continues.
African News Agency (ANA)