Zuma ‘earned’ Bosasa bag of cash with Hawks calls

2019-01-29 15:00
Former Bosasa top boss Angelo Agrizzi. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)

Former Bosasa top boss Angelo Agrizzi. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)

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WATCH LIVE: Angelo Agrizzi's explosive, damning testimony continues | Day 9

2019-01-29 10:09

Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi has concluded his marathon testimony before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture in Johannesburg, followed by former Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder now on the witness stand.WATCH

Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi, whose testimony at the Zondo Commission has linked several government leaders to the company’s corruption racket, on Monday named former president Jacob Zuma as an alleged culprit.

Agrizzi told the commission that the company paid Zuma R300 000 a month through former South African Airways board chairperson Dudu Myeni. 

While the payment was made to look as if it were a donation to the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Agrizzi believed the money was meant for Zuma himself. In one instance, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, whom Agrizzi said was worried that Myeni was not passing all the money to Zuma, decided to directly deliver the money to the former president. “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 to deliver it directly to the president and make sure he has been getting it from Myeni”

“He personally delivered it to Jacob Zuma, put the bag next to him and asked him the question, ‘does Dudu give you your money every month,’ and his answer was ‘yes’,” Agrizzi said.

Bosasa had bagged a R600 million Justice Department security tender.

Apart from wanting Zuma to make it easier for Bosasa to access more government work, Agrizzi said the company particularly wanted the former president to stop a Hawks investigation of its activities.

“There was also an issue with the Hawks. 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 — the Bosasa chairperson — and arranged a meeting with him,” he said.

Mnyeni, Agrizzi said, had facilitated meetings between Zuma and Watson, who had used one of the meetings to lobby the former president to push for legislative changes that could allow the Northern Cape fracking project to continue.

“The meeting was to effect legislative changes that the oil and gas industry required,” Agrizzi said.

“The meeting with the then president was extremely successful. The minister of energy’s advisers were instructed to meet with [Bosasa attorney] Lizel Oberholzer and make the legislative changes needed.”

While Zuma, who has been implicated in corruption by several other people who previously testified at the commission, is yet to officially respond to Agrizzi’s claim, Myeni was quick to respond.

“For the record I have never had a meeting at Bosasa offices with Gavin. We went as a delegation to see their prawn plant. It was an official visit. This man is lying. His greed is worrisome,” she said on twitter.

Earlier, Agrizzi named journalists whom the former Bosasa chief operations officer claimed were paid bribes to portray the company in a positive light in stories.

The media people that Agrizzi named included Pinky Khoabane, former journalist of the defunct New Age newspaper; an Eastern Cape journalist who Agrizzi referred to as Bongs and another whom he referred to only as Ntuli.

“At the time, Bosasa had been going through a very rough patch in terms of negative reporting from certain journalists and what happened was he had approached us and said he can arrange some friends who are related to people and friends that he knows that have got the ability to swing the journalistic viewpoints,” he said.

The journalists were allegedly paid through Bosasa executive Papa Leshabane — whom the company had given R71 000 to bribe journalists and other people.

According to Agrizzi, public relations consultants, including Benedict Dube and Stephen Laufer, were paid over R1 million to protect Bosasa’s public image.

Khoabane denied having received any bribes from Bosasa while Laufer said he ended his relationship with the company after realising that it was involved in dodgy deals.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  bosasa

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