Johannesburg - The mystery over the R500 000 payment to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son from Bosasa deepened on Tuesday, after the controversial company’s former auditor, Peet Venter, revealed that there were no services rendered.
Venter told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, paid Andile Ramaphosa’s foundation or trust in October 2017 but that there was nothing in return.
He said Bosasa boss Gavin Watson gave him the name of the beneficiary. “I was very surprised when he gave me the name,” Venter told the commission.
According to Venter, he did not know the nature of Watson’s relationship with Ramaphosa jr.
He said when he told former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi about the payment, he became very curious. Venter said he found the payment to Andile to be strange but would not dare question Watson.
The money was transferred from Watson’s bank account to Miotto Trading and Advisory Holdings, a company owned by Venter’s sister, and later paid to the Andile Ramaphosa Foundation.
Earlier this month in Parliament, DA leader Mmusi Maimane released an agreement between Bosasa and Andile’s company, Blue Crane Capital. It states that Bosasa appointed Blue Crane Capital and another company, Offtake, to provide strategic and financial advisory services but the monthly retainer to be paid was redacted.
In December, Bosasa wrote to Maimane denying the existence of a contract with Andile.
The president had also previously claimed that he had seen his son’s contract with Bosasa and later backtracked, saying the company had donated to his ANC presidential campaign.
Venter also testified that he was called by Agrizzi and former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder to draft a statement to expose illegal activities by Watson. These included payments done at the instruction of Watson.
“I didn’t want to do it, I was scared,” said Venter.
Venter said Agrizzi threatened him and demanded that he either choose to go down with Watson or prepare a statement like them (Agrizzi and Van Tonder). He said Agrizzi threatened to reveal invoices he had done for Bosasa and use what he had done against him, and that he always threatened to leak information to the media.
“You want to go down with Watson or you want to do this?” Venter recalled Agrizzi warning him. Agrizzi also reminded him of the boundary wall Bosasa had built in his house which he never declared, according to Venter. He insisted that Agrizzi and Van Tonder did not ask him to fabricate anything in his statement.
“Seeing the files, documents and everything on the table just scared me. I decided to do it,” Venter said. Agrizzi also asked how much Venter wanted and offered to pay him R335 000 a month, showing him the value of his investments.
“They wanted to expose Watson and that’s what he forced us to do.” Refiloe Molefe, who led Venter’s evidence, said the commission was investigating a company known as Moroka Consultants, which was paid R450 000 a month between September and November 2017. She said evidence would be led on who owned Moroka Consultants and progress had been made.