Following his startling revelations, Bosasa’s former COO will be dishing more dirt – this time, on Jacob Zuma, Nomvula Mokonyane, Dudu Myeni and NPA bosses.
Angelo Agrizzi is set to drop more bombshells at the state capture inquiry this week, with names of high-profile politicians and the bribes he claims they received.
Late yesterday, City Press obtained a document – a list the former chief operations officer (COO) prepared to present to the commission – which contains names of senior politicians and civil servants whom he claims received money from Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, including:
• Former president Jacob Zuma, who allegedly visited Bosasa’s offices and met Gavin Watson at his Forest Town home, and was allegedly paid R300 000 a month in protection money;
• Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni, whose name came up in the commission of inquiry this week. She allegedly received monthly payments of R300 000, as well as a Louis Vuitton handbag;
• Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who also allegedly received cash gifts worth about R120 000 a year for Christmas, and who allegedly pushed work Bosasa’s way;
• A slew of correctional services officials paid monthly amounts of between R10 000 and R1 million to influence the awarding of tenders in Bosasa’s favour; and
• A secretary at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Jackie Lepinka, whom Agrizzi claims was handed R130 000 a month – R20 000 for her, R100 000 for deputy national director Nomgcobo Jiba, and R10 000 for specialised commercial crimes unit head Lawrence Mrwebi.
City Press was told by two of Agrizzi’s confidantes that he has an entire hard drive that contains CCTV footage, videos and photographs, as well as emails from Bosasa’s server which he mirrored before the company bosses allegedly deliberately crashed and wiped the system after getting wind of a police raid.
City Press learnt that much of this material was made available to commission investigators and the NPA.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, did not immediately respond to requests for comment late yesterday afternoon.
Myeni received City Press’ request for comment, but did not immediately respond.
Mrwebi told City Press he received no money from either Bosasa or Lepinka, and had in no way interfered with the criminal case against Bosasa.
Jiba informed City Press yesterday that a commission investigator had told her she would be named.
“The prosecutor concerned was removed from the Bosasa case and another lead prosecutor was appointed. We were happy with the progress after the new lead prosecutor took over,” she said.
Jiba said she never asked Lepinka to “collect any money from anyone for me”.
“There is absolutely nothing that I have done that is untoward, for which I would have been paid. If what you say is true, it would be the most unforgiveable conduct, not only with regard to our names that she would have dragged through the mud, but also for the integrity of the NPA,” she said.
Lepinka said the allegation was “utter rubbish”.
“If there are such allegations, I trust the relevant credible authority will investigate,” she said.
Mokonyane’s spokesperson, Mlimandlela Ndamase, said: “The minister is not aware of any testimony before the commission that is the basis for such allegations, nor has she been advised by the commission of such allegations being made against her.
“As and when the allegations are presented before the commission, she is committed to respond to the totality of such allegations, in line with the practice and platform provided by the commission.
“The minister denies such allegations and the accuracy of information provided. Bosasa has, to the minister’s knowledge, had no tenders in the course of Mokonyane’s tenure as [the former] Gauteng MEC for safety and as [the former] minister of water and sanitation. As such, the allegation of bribes in return for tenders is devoid of truth and places a credibility crisis on the proponents of such an allegation,” he said.
“The minister knows Bosasa outside of her public office and through its work in the communities of the West Rand through its corporate social investment.”
A source close to Agrizzi told City Press yesterday: “You will hear the recordings and the evidence led and corroborated in the course of next week – some explosive stuff with proof and corroboration.”
THREATS AGRIZZI REPORTED
Agrizzi detailed threats he allegedly received from his bosses at Bosasa in an affidavit to the Hawks.
In it, he says the alarm bells started ringing after the company’s chief executive, Watson, “tried to claim money out of a ‘key man’ policy I had ... equal to R40 million at the time should I be disabled to work, or die”.
“The broker confirmed Watson had proposed the application while I was still in a coma in the intensive care unit at Fourways Life Hospital” at the end of 2016, said Agrizzi.
Agrizzi spent months in hospital after an operation to remove a tumour on his heart.
This, he told the state capture inquiry, is what prompted him to publicly reveal the wrongdoing he had been party to at the company where he had worked for 19 years.
But it was in July the following year that he got wind of a statement that the company’s chairperson, Johannes Gumede, allegedly made at a meeting, which he interpreted as a “subtle but a direct threat, especially knowing the history of the group”.
Gumede allegedly said: “Tell Agrizzi we have been patient and he needs to be careful; we don’t want another funeral shortly,” the affidavit reads.
Speaking on behalf of Watson and Gumede, Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leshabane said: “Angelo is a plain liar. He referred this matter to a competent investigating authority in 2018. This matter was thoroughly investigated and the people he accused were asked to file responding affidavits, which they did. The investigating authority then found no grounds to prosecute and the matter was closed.”
Leshabane also denied that anyone on Agrizzi’s list received bribes from the company.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that the case was referred to the NPA but the prosecutor declined to prosecute.
However, private investigator Mike Bolhuis, who has provided security for Agrizzi, told City Press yesterday that there were “at least 28 people” who want his client dead.
“The man’s life is under serious attack and his safety is a concern to me,” he said.
Agrizzi did not respond to requests for comment this week.
Agrizzi’s revelations at the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, gripped the nation this week. He spoke of how between R4 million and R6 million was dished out in bribes each month from a vault that had to be restocked every week.
BIG BUCKS BRIBES
A video shown to the commission depicts Watson counting wads of cash in the vault, inside which Gumede, Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder and Leshabane also stood.
In the affidavit deposed to in May last year, in support of a case of conspiracy to commit murder and intimidation, Agrizzi says Watson “tasked [him] with numerous projects”, both legal and illegal, which he had to comply with because he could not find another job – because his name had been “tainted by association with the Watsons”.
In the 34-page affidavit, accompanied by two voice recordings, Agrizzi claims that in 2005, after the first news reports into corruption at Bosasa surfaced, he was “strategically promoted” to COO, which he claimed was a “ploy to entice me to take on more accountability”.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report found that Bosasa bribed former prisons boss Linda Mti and the department’s chief financial officer, Patrick Gillingham, to win more than R1.5 billion in tenders.
Although the report was handed to the NPA in 2009, no formal action has been taken.
“Watson had realised that the SIU investigation would result in casualties, and he repeatedly would say that his signature appears nowhere,” Agrizzi wrote in his affidavit.
He also references a R60 million “separation contract” he reached with Bosasa which contains a confidentiality clause that prevents him from speaking about what he saw at the company.
Agrizzi claims he was then subjected to an investigation by a private investigator whom the company hired to intimidate him and staff members loyal to him.
Among these staff members was the man Watson allegedly tasked with “special projects” – installing expensive security equipment at the homes of senior politicians.
Agrizzi further claimed that those employees were forced to make false statements against him.
Attached to his affidavit is a statement that the employee was allegedly forced to sign, stating that “Angelo Agrizzi, the ex-COO, instructed me and my team to do special projects at various sites”.
A source close to Agrizzi said that he will be testifying about the special projects next week.
In September, City Press reported on an affidavit the Bosasa employee deposed to, in which he alleged that he installed security equipment at the homes of senior ANC politicians Mokonyane, Gwede Mantashe, public accounts committee chair Vincent Smith and deputy prisons minister Thabang Makwetla.
Read: Mantashe, Mokonyane scored big in Bosasa bonanza
In addition, he allegedly installed security equipment at the homes of Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s procurement manager, Mbulelo Gingcana, as well as the homes of Myeni and Mti.
At the time, Makwetla confirmed he had received equipment, but said that he did not want it, did not ask for it and it did not work. Mantashe denied the allegations, while Mokonyane would neither confirm nor deny the claims. The rest declined to comment.
“Accounts would be opened as cash accounts, and I would receive the cash from Jacques van Zyl and Angelo Agrizzi as the company did not want to reflect it on the books,” the affidavit stated.
This week, City Press received a letter which the same employee wrote to Bosasa’s human resources department – he wrote it in his defence after being accused of theft. He stated that he had to “lie” to the police “to ensure ... that the relationship between Gavin Watson and the chairperson of SAA was not exposed”.
“Watson tasked me to do various projects and told me to do everything possible so that the installations done would not point back at the company, such as filing off serial numbers using private clothing and a special unbranded vehicle,” he wrote.
Leshabane denied the employee’s allegation that he was instructed to file off the serial numbers or travel in plain clothes and an unmarked vehicle.
Mulaudzi confirmed that Agrizzi laid the complaint and deposed to his affidavit “after the allegations were shared with our serious and organised crime investigation unit by a whistle-blower”.
“The whistle-blower was requested to bring the alleged targeted person, who turned out to be Angelo Agrizzi. Mr Agrizzi was interviewed and produced an audio recording of the alleged conspiracy,” Mulaudzi said.
“A statement was then taken from him based on an audio recording. He mentioned names of possible suspects. He also gave the name of the person who allegedly did the recording.
“The two alleged possible suspects, Joe Gumede and Gavin Watson, were approached for warning statements and they supplied their warning statements.
“The person who recorded the audio was never found and did not give a statement.”
Mulaudzi said that a prosecutor declined to prosecute the case “due to insufficient evidence”.
The case was closed in July last year, he said.