Ire-raising testimony as Agrizzi names yet more top names
Bosasa paid for Zuma's birthday cake, and greased the palms of ministers and MPs, he tells inquiry
Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi has laid bare how the controversial prison security company lined the pockets of ANC heavyweights and state officials in exchange for furthering its business interests with the government.
Agrizzi pulled no punches on Monday when he testified at the state capture inquiry, implicating ministers, former and current ANC members of parliament, and officials working in various departments.
He started with environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane.
So close was Bosasa’s allegedly corrupt relationship with Mokonyane, that the minister is said to have insisted that the company foot the bill for ANC rallies, birthday celebrations, funeral services, and even a rental car for her daughter.
Agrizzi told the commission that Bosasa paid for at least a dozen ANC events, including the party’s Siyanqoba rallies, which are held before elections.
Apart from favours for the party, Agrizzi also described how he had been given a list of Christmas groceries to buy for Mokonyane every year since 2002. These included cases of expensive alcohol and packs of meat. The company also paid for repairs to her Roodepoort home and hired a car for her daughter. But to secure their contracts with the government, Bosasa had to bribe state officials, mostly in the department of correctional services (DCS) and the department of justice and constitutional development.
Agrizzi said the company employed the services of Sesinyi Seopela – who once served as former ANC Youth League president Peter Mokaba’s bodyguard – to facilitate the payments to government officials and pass on vital information on contracts. In one instance, Agrizzi said he gave Seopela up to R500,000 per month between 2008 and 2016 to pay officials at the DCS, where the bulk of Bosasa’s contracts come from. He said this increased to R750,000 after Tom Moyane was appointed as the department’s national commissioner. Agrizzi also admitted that Bosasa, through Seopela, bribed officials at the justice department with R15m. He said he was present at a meeting where four officials from the department were paid to secure a contract for one of Bosasa’s companies, Sondolo IT. The last element of Bosasa’s corruption seems to have focused on parliament.
Agrizzi admitted to bribing ANC MP Vincent Smith, and other MPs, with up to R100,000 a month. According to his testimony, he met Smith, along with then MPs Vuselelo Magagula and Winnie Ngwenya, in 2011 at a hotel on Rivonia Road, Johannesburg.
All three were part of the portfolio committee on correctional services at the time. “Smith alluded to us in the meeting and he had spoke as though he had formed a relationship with [Watson] at a prior meeting. What was agreed at that meeting was that despite the negative press publicity and despite issues raised in the press that were in essence against Bosasa, that the parliamentary committee would keep quiet on it and they would make sure they could manage it so it wouldn’t stop Bosasa from getting any new business,” Agrizzi said.
He alleged that Bosasa paid Smith R45,000 per month; Magagula R30,000; and Ngwenya R20,000. Smith’s monthly bribe was said to have increased to R100,000 in 2016.
Agrizzi also detailed how, after a crime occurred at Smith’s home, Bosasa installed security upgrades including cameras, an alarm system and improved fencing. Smith is said to have also requested that Bosasa pay his daughter’s university fees. In one of the payments, Agrizzi said Bosasa paid about R276,000 to a British university in 2016 for Smith’s daughter’s tuition fees. The money was allegedly paid to Smith’s company, EuroBlitz.
In 2018, Smith asked to be removed as chair of parliament’s constitutional review committee until a probe into allegations that he received large sums of money from Bosasa is finalised.
In a statement at the time‚ Smith said he entered into an agreement for a personal loan with Agrizzi. But Agrizzi denied this. He told the commission that Smith even offered to sell him his shares in a hospital in Midrand, but he refused. Agrizzi’s testimony will continue on Tuesday.