Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi’s testimony on Friday shed more light on how Bosasa “captured” the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services and ensured that the facilities company continued to receive lucrative contracts from the corrections services department.
He detailed before the commission how Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson identified ANC MP Cedric Frolick as a influential individual in the committee who would be of paramount importance in “winning over” ANC MP and justice and correctional services committee chairperson Vincent Smith, who at the time held a negative view on Bosasa and the contracts they had managed to secure from the department of correctional services.
“Cedric Frolick was introduced to me by Cheeky [Daniel] Watson telephonically during a period when there was a lot of attack [on Bosasa] from the media. He [Frolick] has been a long-standing friend of Cheeky Watson and the Watsons,” said Agrizzi.
He added that he was informed that Frolick was going to be visiting “Office Park [the Bosasa Headquarters]”, and the reason for the visit was for them to “understand the magnitude of the business and be shown the diversity of the actual business. Gavin stressed to us that Frolick would be influential in resolving the impasse that had developed with Smith as chairperson,” he said.
Agrizzi revealed that Watson instructed him that Frolick should be paid a bribe of R40 000 a month to ensure that Bosasa received the audience of Smith.
He testified that “a week after the first payment was made Frolick called Watson and informed him that he had managed to secure a meeting for Bosasa with Smith”.
Agrizzi told the commission that when they finally met Smith at Parliament he did not receive them warmly and “seemed to have not been aware that they were coming to meet with him”.
He said after “a very brief meeting” Smith left for another engagement.
“That meeting did not go well at all … we had wasted R25 000 in travelling costs for nothing,” said Agrizzi.
He told the commission that for this particular meeting he was accompanied by Gideon Njeje, whom Watson had handpicked to go with him.
Agrizzi added that Frolick was similarly instrumental in landing a meeting between Watson, his bother Valence Watson and Justice Minister Michael Masutha.
“Frolick called and informed Watson that he had managed to manipulate the situation and acquire accommodation for Masutha in Port Elizabeth at his personal accommodation.”
This was apparently for an ANC rally that was scheduled to take place in Port Elizabeth.
Agrizzi told the commission that, having been able to manipulate the situation, Frolick informed Watson that he would be able arrange a meeting between him and Masutha.
He said Watson took his bother Valance to the meeting, but he was not convinced that it had gone their way.
“It seemed that their meeting had gone the same way as the one we had had with Smith,” said Agrizzi.
But then the former Bosasa chief operations executive revealed that because of Frolick and other individuals whom he said had been bribed, the relationship between Bosasa and Smith was cultivated to a point that the two parties saw eye to eye.
Earlier in the year Agrizzi revealed that numerous members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice and correctional services were on Bosasa’s payroll.
And African Global Operations (formerly known as Bosasa) employee Richard le Roux also gave testimony before the state capture commission earlier in the year that security upgrades were done by Bosasa in Smith’s property to the tune of tens of thousands of rands.