SOE bosses, ministers were in Bosasa pocket, Agrizzi tells StateCaptureInquiry
Johannesburg – Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi on Wednesday revealed shocking details of the millions of rand that the company paid to bribe employees of state-owned entities (SOEs).
Those ostensibly bribed for their co-operation in facilitating tenders for Bosasa included two current ministers.
Agrizzi told the commission of inquiry into state capture that Bosasa, now called African Global Operations, paid up to R6million a month in bribes to senior officials of SOEs such as the Airports Company SA (Acsa) and the SA Post Office (Sapo).
According to Agrizzi, Bosasa boss Gavin Watson gave Sapo’s former head of security Siviwe Mapisa, brother of Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the post office’s former chief executive Maanda Manyatshe expensive, premier gifts including luxury Cartier and Montblanc pens as well as cufflinks and watches.
Agrizzi also identified senior ANC leaders such as International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Mapisa-Nqakula and former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli’s wife Girly Pikoli as some of the shareholders of Dyambu Holdings, Bosasa’s former name.
He told the commission headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Watson knew that the money they paid to senior employees of SOEs was used to bribe them.
He said Bosasa was awarded a contract to build a multi-storey car park for Acsa, allegedly after paying bribes.
Agrizzi said the lowest amount he paid in bribes was R5000, which was recorded as a bonus, while he facilitated amounts up to R1million and ”sometimes more”.
He said Watson would boast about paying state officials and claim he was looking after them.
”He trusted my knowledge and ability,” Agrizzi said of Watson, adding that he was very close to him. He also revealed that Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union general secretary Simon Mofokeng was also on Bosasa’s payroll to give the controversial company access to Sasol, where the Cosatu affiliate organises.
Agrizzi, who worked for Bosasa from 1999 until 2016, said he later learnt that Mofokeng’s wife Maureen was hired by the company to head up its training department.
While servicing a contract with one of the major mining companies, said Agrizzi, Bosasa also paid for the maintenance of vehicles for officials of another Cosatu affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers.
He claimed he was Watson’s right-hand man.
Agrizzi added that Bosasa became something of a cult and Watson would invite prophets and pastors to preside over all-night prayers.
”Watson is a very charismatic leader, he has influence over his employees,” he added.
He revealed that in 2013 controversial former SA Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni showed him National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) files and that prosecutors were bribed to quash charges against the company’s employees.
Agrizzi said NPA officials were bribed to impede the prosecution of Bosasa employees implicated in a Special Investigating Unit probe.
Agrizzi has also reported threats to his and his family’s safety to the Hawks. His life was in danger, head of the commission’s legal team Paul Pretorius said.
Agrizzi believed testifying before the commission would protect him. The sensitivity and shocking nature of his evidence forced the commission not to notify parties and individuals of his testimony as has been done previously.
Instead, those implicated by Agrizzi were only informed by phone on Wednesday, Pretorius added.
Agrizzi has been receiving anonymous calls and been warned that Watson can make people disappear. The commission has found the threats credible enough to offer him security.