Zondo Commission recap: Another week of drama with Agrizzi, Gigaba and the Guptas
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The Gupta’s use of a money-laundering network, embattled former Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba and frustration caused by the testimony of former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi.
Here’s what you missed at the State Capture Inquiry this week:
The Guptas made use of some of the worst criminal networks, including human trafficking organised crime units, to move stolen South African state funds to offshore accounts.
The commission continued to hear money-flow related evidence from Paul Holden of London-based Shadow World Investigations.
Holden described the extraordinarily busy and complex money-laundering network used by the Guptas as a "spider web".
Holden testified that an “incredibly disturbing pattern” of the flow of funds had presented itself during his investigations.
The Zondo Commission heard that the funds, that ultimately emanated from South African taxpayers, passed through the hands of people wanted for the most heinous crimes including sexual assault, drug trafficking and murder.
The vast majority of funds identified in this network enter into what Holden called the Hong Kong/China laundry network.
He said hundreds of companies registered in the Hong Kong/China laundry network received money from state capture and then presumably kicked those funds out to an “eventual intended recipient”.
Former Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba said he did not drive around Johannesburg with bags of cash in his boot given to him by the Guptas as alleged by one of his protectors.
Gigaba was responding to allegations made against him by ‘Witness 3’.
Witness 3 claimed the minister would receive money and would use it to buy suits, amongst other things.
Witness 3 also said Gigaba would buy suits with the money and pay for them with cash bills. He said the former minister would also pay for food using the cash bills.
But, Gigaba denied the allegations “with contempt”.
He also claimed his estranged wife Mngoma "loved money".
He said she even demanded to know what he planned to do with his ministerial pension payout.
Gigaba is also not done yet at the State Capture Commission as he is expected to answer more questions.
Mabuyakhulu has previously been implicated at the commission by Colonel Petrus du Plooy of the Durban Hawks and PwC forensic accountant Trevor White, for his role in securing a R1-million “donation” from businessman Gaston Savoi and his company, Intaka Holdings, in 2008.
This was after the company scored massive contracts to supply water purification and oxygen plants to provincial hospitals and other departments.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged Mabuyakhulu for the matter in 2011, but those charges were eventually dropped. However, another nine accused are still awaiting trial, including Savoi and former Ithala Development Bank boss Sipho Shabalala.
White has maintained that Mabuyakhulu knew of the source of the donation, which was allegedly a kickback for Savoi receiving hefty government contracts.
Former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi appeared before the Zondo Commission, oxygen tubes and all, to be cross-examined by businessman Kevin Wakeford’s legal team.
He responded to cross-examination by Advocate Reg Willies who both expressed serious frustration over the questions and answers.
The hearing between Willies and Agrizzi went around in circles with Justice Zondo often called in to referee and explain the questions and responses to the commission.
The Armscor CEO, Wakeford was implicated by Agrizzi when he told the commission that Wakeford was a Bosasa beneficiary.
Agrizzi stood by his previous evidence that Wakeford, who was a consultant to Bosasa for about eight years, allegedly received R100 000 a month for helping Bosasa “resolve” its issues with the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
Willies asked Agrizzi if there was a possibility that all the evidence he had given both orally and in affidavits with regard to Wakeford could have contained mistakes or “maybe remembered incorrectly”.
Agrizzi said he may have had incorrectly referred to dates or times, but the context of his evidence was true.
“I never lied. I told the truth,” Agrizzi said.
The former procurement head at Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Mbulelo Gingcana conceded that security upgrades were done at his home by Bosasa, but, he denied that any impropriety was conducted on his part saying that to-date he was still awaiting an invoice for the work done in 2016.
He said he was always willing to pay for the upgrades.
He told the commission that procurement and supply chain procedures have unfortunately been manipulated to such an extent in South Africa that it has tainted the profession.
He said this resulted in the assumption that since someone was involved in supply chain management, they must be getting a kickback of some sort.
“I am a supply chain professional. I have 30 years of experience in this game and have been involved in these big, very complicated supply chain transactions.
“It must not be misconstrued that when somebody is doing his personal work at home, it is assumed that since they are in supply chain, they must be getting a kickback of some nature,” Gingcana said.