Et tu, Nomvula? Mokonyane dragged further into web of Bosasa corruption

2019-03-28 15:10

Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane will have to answer more tough questions about her relationship with corruption-accused company Bosasa, including whether or not she received R50 000 a month in cash from the company.

This comes as former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi took to the witness stand at the Zondo commission into state capture again on Thursday for the second time, following his nine-day marathon testimony in January.

Bosasa courted a long-standing relationship with Mokonyane because she was a powerful figure in government, and held influence the company could utilise to not only secure more contracts, but keep criminal prosecution at bay, Agrizzi revealed.  

READ: Mokonyane feels betrayed by Zondo commission for not giving her access to contents of Agrizzi's testimony

Mokonyane, Agrizzi testified in January, was handed gifts including meat and alcohol for family functions. It has now been alleged that she received cash payments and maintenance on her home, including a garden service, repairs to electric fencing and new camera systems.

Agrizzi corroborated the evidence of other witnesses regarding the upgrades to Mokonyane's home.

Agrizzi said he was present on one occasion when Mokonyane was handed cash in a grey security bag while she was Gauteng premier, between May 2009 and May 2014.

"I remember clearly, it was in her study," he said. "As you walk in the front door, to the right. There was a whole lot of memorabilia on the wall."

Mokonyane also allegedly arranged a meeting with former Hawks head Anwar Dramat for Bosasa to further its attempts to get criminal prosecution relating to a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report shut down.

He has also revealed emails Mokonyane sent to him requesting assistance on matters dated April 13, 2012.

Bosasa sponsored ANC lekgotlas, private funerals for family members, and massive Siyanqoba rallies for the ruling party at Mokonyane's request.

Agrizzi's evidence also corroborated News24 reports and evidence by another Bosasa employee, Richard le Roux, over the installation of security upgrades at Mokonyane's home in Krugersdorp.

'Watson looked after Mokonyane'

Bosasa, Agrizzi said, would drop everything to assist Mokonyane when she called or asked for assistance.

The reason for this, he alleged, was because Mokonyane was helping the company "shut down" an investigation by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority stemming from the SIU report, finalised in 2009.

"Whenever I queried some of the things we were doing, I was told shut up. This is about the SIU," Agrizzi said.

"Some people are very powerful in politics. It's scary. People have the ability to do a lot of things. I have seen it happen in. Prosecutions being stalled...things that boggle the mind," Agrizzi said.

"The big thing I was worried about was the SIU report. She told me once 'Don't worry about it, it's closed. Are you worried about the press? Don't worry about the press'."

"(CEO Gavin) Watson was always looking after the premier at that stage."

READ: The minister, the gifts, the Watsons and the wind farm

The SIU in 2009 finalised its report, revealing that it found evidence of bribes Bosasa had paid to former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti and the department's chief financial officer, Patrick Gillingham.

In exchange, Bosasa and its subsidiaries were awarded four contracts worth roughly R1.5bn in 2004 and 2005.

Furthermore, Mokonyane's pending role in the appeals process for a massive Eastern Cape wind farm project linked to Bosasa CEO Watson's brother, Ronnie Watson, and his family also came to light.

Agrizzi confirmed key details of a GroundUp report published on March 13 this year that revealed Mokonyane might face a severe conflict of interest as she would preside over the appeal process as the environmental affairs minister.

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Read more on:    bosasa  |  angelo agrizzi  |  nomvula mokonyane
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