#StateCaptureInquiry: Bosasa bribed for every tender it received - Agrizzi
Johannesburg - Facilities management company Bosasa bribed officials and politicians for every tender that it was awarded, the Zondo commission heard.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi concluded his evidence at the inquiry on Friday.
He told the commission that the bribery scheme applied by Bosasa in order to secure numerous government contracts operated for 13 years.
He said as far as he can remember, he started being aware of bribery in 2004 or 2005 and this went on until he left the company in 2016.
Agrizzi admitted when he first appeared at the inquiry and through his evidence that he was intricately involved in the corruption untaken by the facilities management company.
Bosasa is now known as African Global Operations.
He told the commission that Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson was behind the company’s decisions to bribe officials. However, Watson made sure that his name appeared nowhere in the paper trail. Other Bosasa witnesses also corroborated this view.
Agrizzi said about 38 government officials and politicians were on Bosasa’s payroll.
The company won over R2 billion in tenders over the years and it paid about R70 million in bribes.
The most crucial tenders awarded to the company involved the department of correctional services, the justice department, the department of homes affairs and Airports Company South African.
Officials in all these departments received bribes, Agrizzi alleged.
Bosasa also allegedly bought its influence through donations. The ANC was placed at the centre or Agrizzi’s evidence when he revealed that the party received around R12 million from Bosasa.
He said this donation was presented to the ANC’s top six, but he could not remember the exact date. He clarified his previous statement which alluded to the fact that payment was made to individual top six members.
“I said R10 million, but I can’t remember if it was R10 or R8 million. But I do remember the cheque. A delegation from Bosasa went to handover the cheque. We had to make sure that the money was in the bank and it would clear. I remember in the meeting where the amount was discussed, it was a substantial amount. That amount would reflect in the bank statements of Bosasa. It was a cheque directed to the ANC,” said Agrizzi.
The ANC has since announced that it has applied to cross-examine Agrizzi regarding his claims.
Individual ANC members were also mentioned by Agrizzi. He told the commission how Watson had pushed for the company to pay Parliament chairperson Cedric Frolick R40 000 a month.
The money was in an effort to change public perception, Watson wooed Frolick in an attempt to get closer to former correctional services committee chair Vincent Smith.
Smith at the time was against Bosasa and thought very little of the company which was accused of corrupt dealings following the conclusion in 2009 of the Special Investigative Unit’s report into the company.
Agrizzi detailed two occasions where he witnessed Frolick being handed a security bag filled with money.
Although Smith was reluctant to get involved with Bosasa, he did change his mind. He too allegedly benefited from security upgrades to his home.
The second implicated ANC member is Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane
Agrizzi said he witnessed Mokonyane being handed R50 000 which was also placed in a security bag.
Mokonyane had also received security upgrades to her home in Krugersdorp home which was all funded by Bosasa.
She was also influential in organising that Bosasa builds a war-room for the ANC’s election campaigns in 2014 and 2016. The war-rooms came fitted with a call centre and large screen displays which cost the company millions, Agrizzi said.
Mokonyane has denied the claims made by Agrizzi and said she will appear at the inquiry to give her version.
Bosasa also often funded the ANC rallies, even providing food parcels for events.
Agrizzi expanded on his January testimony about former correctional services officials Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti.
He explained that the two were well taken care of Bosasa as Watson insisted that they be given everything they wanted.
The company funded Gillingham’s R2 million divorce, it paid him R110 000 a month and it built him a house and bought cars for his children.
Mti also got a free house funded by Bosasa and was also paid large sums of money monthly. Agrizzi said he even had to pay for Mti’s expensive Italian shoes.
The two held powerful positions and ensured that Bosasa was awarded correctional services tenders.
The inquiry resumes on Monday with more Bosasa witnesses expected to take the stand.IOL