Myeni was Bosasa’s go-to. She had clout, Zuma’s ear & collected his money

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Former Bosasa top boss Angelo Agrizzi is testifying at the state capture commission in Parktown, Johannesburg. He returns to the stand clutching one of his infamous black books, which are said to contain the names of the people who received bribes from Bosasa. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Former Bosasa top boss Angelo Agrizzi is testifying at the state capture commission in Parktown, Johannesburg. He returns to the stand clutching one of his infamous black books, which are said to contain the names of the people who received bribes from Bosasa. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24

Angelo Agrizzi may be the name on everyone’s lips after days of shocking testimony before the inquiry into state capture. But on Monday he circled back to one of the main characters in what has become one of South Africa’s most-watched reality TV shows – former president Jacob Zuma.

Agrizzi, who served as chief operations officer at business services company Bosasa, accused Zuma of taking bribes to advance the company’s business interests and to ensure it would be safe from prosecution.

Enter Dudu Myeni, a close friend of Zuma’s, former chairperson of the South African Airways board and chairperson of Zuma’s charity foundation. Agrizzi said that Myeni was important to Bosasa because she had influence in government and could “swing deals”. She was also apparently the person who would deliver money to Zuma for favours for Bosasa that were given to her by another name has become a household one since the inquiry started – Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson.

On Monday, Agrizzi testified that Watson was “quite open” about the fact that he paid Myeni R300 000 monthly “for the Jacob G Zuma Foundation”.

Once, he said, he saw a Louis Vuitton handbag stuffed with R300 000 at Bosasa’s offices. This handbag was delivered to Myeni, who thanked Agrizzi for it.

“She was over the moon,” he told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who was heading up the state capture inquiry.

Agrizzi said the money was supposed to be going to Zuma’s foundation, but he didn’t believe the foundation received this money.

“Surely if it’s for a foundation you would do an electronic funds transfer? Why would you want it in cash?” Agrizzi said.

Watson was also worried that Myeni was not delivering all of the money and asked Zuma about it.

When Watson asked the former president whether the money was received, Zuma responded with a “yes”, saying he did get monthly payments from Myeni, Agrizzi testified.

Zuma has been accused of allowing the Gupta family, who were in business with his son, to influence government contracts and Cabinet appointments.

Myeni, Zuma, his son and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

Zuma is also still on trial for taking bribes from arms dealers in the late 1990s, and he’s expected back in court in May this year.

Agrizzi has kept the nation enthralled during the Zondo commission of inquiry with his revelations of cash being packed into grey bags for bribes and then delivered to politicians, government officials and even journalists.

But the high-profile names that have been dropped during the commission’s sittings have caused even more tension within the ruling party.

City Press reported on Sunday how ANC leaders who want a clean-out were banking on the internal election vetting process for parliamentary lists to root out the rogue elements linked to the Bosasa rot, as evidence mounts at the Zondo commission that party leaders and state officials were in the pockets of businesspeople.

But others said the corruption allegations cut across factions and all sides were implicated, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s backers, “and therefore no action will be taken”.

Read: ANC’s Bosasa hot potato leads to stringent vetting process

Just before wrapping up his testimony on Monday, Agrizzi said “one of the reasons” he came forward was because Watson was going to pin everything on him. He said an attorney advised Watson to get him to admit to everything, including that he acted alone.

Manwhile, the Hawks special investigating unit is watching the proceedings closely to see how they relate to cases that are being investigated.

Hawks spokesperson Nazreen Pandor said it would continue to observe proceedings and examine witness testimonies, particularly evidence which had its nexus or bearing on the unit’s investigations, Pandor added.

Pandor said evidence led at the commission could still be rebutted through cross-examination and that the process would probably take some time to unfold.

However, witnesses were testifying under oath and that would be taken into consideration when deciding on a course of action.

If you want something done, ask Myeni

Among the dodgy deals business services company Bosasa was allegedly involved in was Karoo fracking.

Angelo Agrizzi, former chief operations officer at Bosasa, told the state capture inquiry on Monday that former chairperson of the SAA board and chairperson of Zuma’s charity foundation, Dudu Myeni, was pulled in because they needed influence and new laws.

She coordinated a meeting at Nkandla at which it was decided to amend the regulations that guided fracking.

Prisons

When it came to the investigation into the correctional services department’s contracts with Bosasa, Myeni was also the go-to person.

Last week, Agrizzi testified that officials in the department of correctional services flouted numerous tender processes and ensured that Bosasa was awarded tenders to the tune of billions of rands in exchange for kickbacks.

Read: Bribes, front companies, inside info: Agrizzi reveals how Bosasa got billions in tenders from correctional services

The NPA

Earlier in January, Agrizzi handed investigators an affidavit, which says that he had photographic evidence of how Myeni handed over confidential National Prosecuting Authority documents to Agrizzi and Gavin Watson in 2015.

Read: Dudu Myeni implicated as exec tells how ‘corruption became normal at Bosasa’

On Monday, Agrizzi told the inquiry about a meeting with Myeni and Watson at the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel. Myeni, who appeared nervous, explained she had meetings with the NPA, they were working on shutting down the case.

A docket, which Agrizzi says resembled that of a police docket – beige folder, was handed to him, and he took photographs of the documents and gave them back to Myeni.

“Anti Corruption Task Team report on Correctional Services investigation” appeared worded on the document.

She took some notes out of it, Agrizzi says, asking him to look over them.

When she was instructed to shut the Hawks investigation down, Myeni responded that she would work on it.

Later, Watson instructed Zuma to call in then Hawks boss Anwar Dramat to ensure the investigation was shut down, Agrizzi said. Dramat resigned as head of the Hawks in April 2015.


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