Zuma got R300k per month from Bosasa, says Agrizzi
A designer handbag full of cash - former exec lays out company's allegedly corrupt relationship with Myeni and Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma is alleged to have pocketed up to R300,000 per month from controversial government contractor Bosasa in exchange for doing its bidding.
It was alleged that Zuma collected the money through former South African Airways boss and chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Dudu Myeni, who also allegedly accepted lavish gifts from the company for her influence in government and her close relationship with the then president.
Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi spilled the beans on the company's allegedly corrupt relationship with Myeni and Zuma at the state capture inquiry on Monday.
He told the inquiry that Bosasa would pay R300,000 per month in cash towards the Jacob Zuma Foundation. He alleged Myeni collected the cash, which was destined for Zuma's pockets rather than the foundation.
Agrizzi said he first met Myeni at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria where Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson allegedly introduced her to him.
“[Watson] was quite open. He would tell us he is paying her R300,000 per month. He would always say he hopes she is giving it to Zuma. And the payment was for the Jacob Zuma Foundation apparently,” Agrizzi said.
“The strange thing was that it was always cash. The payment was made to Myeni. On occasion I would have to pack the money in this regard.”
Myeni is also alleged to have received expensive gifts from Bosasa.
“[Watson] said he needed to impress Myeni. I said: ‘Don’t ask me, ask my wife’. My wife said to me to buy a handbag from Louis Vuitton. The handbag was delivered to Bosasa offices and [Watson] put R300,000 in the bag and delivered it to Myeni ... I was there. I knew what was happening.
“Myeni thanked me personally afterwards for choosing the bag for her,” Agrizzi said.
“There were times she she would call on [Watson] to arrange high-end functions, expensive functions for Jacob Zuma, and there were times she needed stuff done at her house in terms of security, and that was arranged,” he said.
In exchange for Bosasa’s monthly payments, Zuma is said to have used his influence to help effect legislative changes and cripple investigations into the company.
After Bosasa was approached by Falcon Oil and Gas in relation to a Karoo fracking transaction in the Northern Cape, Myeni is said to have co-ordinated a meeting at Zuma’s Nkandla home between the then president, Watson, Falcon Oil CEO Philip O’Quigley, and attorney Lizel Oberholzer in 2016. The meeting was said to have discussed legislative changes that were needed to continue with the fracking project.
“The meeting was to effect legislative changes that the oil and gas industry required. The meeting with the president was extremely successful. The minister’s [minister of energy] advisers were instructed to meet with Oberholzer and make the legislative changes needed,” Agrizzi said.
“Suffice to say, Bosasa was favoured by the president. There were numerous meetings co-ordinated at the Nkandla residence. [Watson] was concerned [Zuma] wasn’t getting the R300,000. He said he was going deliver it directly to the president and make sure he has been getting it from Myeni ... [Watson] told me he placed the bag (of money) next to Zuma and asked him ‘does Dudu give you your money every month?’ The answer was yes.”
Bosasa’s relationship with Myeni and Zuma was also used to stifle ongoing investigations into fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering at the company.
“There was also an issue with the Hawks. They (Bosasa) needed to get clarity and finality on this. They raised the issue with [Zuma] and he said, ‘let me make a call or two’. And he made the calls. The Hawks then got a hold of Joe Gumede (Bosasa chairman) and arranged a meeting with him,” Agrizzi alleged.
He also accused Myeni of leaking confidential documents relating to the investigation into Bosasa. This was alleged to have happened during another meeting at the Sheraton Hotel between Agrizzi, Watson and Myeni.
“She explained to us that she had meetings at the National Prosecuting Authority. She said that they were working on closing down and shutting down the case. She gave me the docket and said you can write down things but please don’t make copies and take photographs. She was working on getting the Bosasa investigation closed down,” Agrizzi alleged.
“It looked like a police case docket. She took some notes out of the folder and said I must look at these notes.”
Agrizzi said he asked to be excused so he could make notes. He admitted to taking photographs of the docket as he was pressed for time.
“It was asked that she go to the president and get it (the investigation) closed up immediately.”
Agrizzi is expected to wrap up his testimony on Tuesday.