Angelo Agrizzi's former PA confirms sending birthday hampers to Nomvula Mokonyane and assistant

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Nomvula Mokonyane.
Nomvula Mokonyane.
  • Angelo Agrizzi's former personal assistant says she was asked to send birthday hampers to former minister Nomvula Mokonyane and her personal assistant. 
  • Gina Pieters was testifying before the state capture commission of inquiry.
  • Last year, Agrizzi alleged that Mokonyane received R50 000 per month in cash from Bosasa as well as gifts, including meat and expensive alcohol, for her family.

The personal assistant (PA) of former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi told the state capture commission of inquiry that she used to send birthday hampers to former minister Nomvula Mokonyane and her assistant, Sandy Thomas.

Gina Pieters appeared before the commission on Wednesday morning.

She was Agrizzi's PA from May 2004 until February 2017.

She told commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that Agrizzi had asked her to send the hampers to Mokonyane and Thomas.

Pieters said she dealt directly with Thomas who told her not to send the gifts to the office, but to her physical address.  

READ | Mokonyane's birthday bash: Bosasa splashed cash for 174 guests, guesthouse owner confirms to Zondo

She said she started sending the hampers from 2010, but added that it could have been before then. 

"That was one occasion and then a few months later, a year later I was asked to send the hampers again [and] thereafter I saved the details when something became a regular occurrence, I would save the details on my phone with an address," she said.

Pieters also read out an email she wrote to the procurement department, asking it to assist with birthday hampers worth R1 500.

The hampers were sent to Mokonyane and Thomas, she said.

She also said in the emails that she had told officials not to make any reference to Bosasa in the birthday cards.

Asked whose idea it was to state that they should not make reference to Bosasa, Pieters said: "Mr Agrizzi used to ask me to do that when things were confidential and there was not to be any links made to Bosasa preferably. So that is why he would have asked me to do that and that is why I put it there in bold capitals, so that it could not implicate them, link them in an untoward manner to Bosasa."

Pieters also told Zondo about an email she sent to the procurement department asking them to arrange a "ladies hamper" worth R700 which had to be delivered to Thomas.

She asked them to write a "get well soon" message in the card, indicating that it was from Agrizzi.

"Mr Agrizzi called me and said Sandy is in hospital, please get hold of her and send her a parcel," she said.

Thomas says she can't recall

On Monday, Thomas told the commission that the one occasion she recalled speaking to the former COO was when he contacted her. But she was sick at the time, so she referred him to a colleague. She did not know what he wanted, News24 previously reported. 

She could not confirm that she and Mokonyane received "ladies hampers" worth R1 500 each for their birthdays one year, which were in the same month.

Thomas said she would have been at work and would have not signed for the hamper, which she couldn't recall receiving.

However, she did not deny that she might have received a hamper other than a get well gift from Bosasa, but rather maintained that she could not remember.

Thomas conceded that she would be called and asked what type of gift the minister would like, but never followed up on whether Mokonyane received the hamper referred to.

"Those are surprises. I can't ruin the surprise," Thomas said when asked if she enquired about whether Mokonyane had received a present from Watson or Agrizzi.

During his testimony last year, Agrizzi alleged the former minister received R50 000 per month in cash from Bosasa and she had received gifts, including meat and expensive alcohol, for her family.

However, during her testimony, Mokonyane repeatedly said allegations Agrizzi levelled against her were extremely defamatory and full of contradictions.

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