Agrizzi Exposes More Government Officials
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Agrizzi Exposes More Government Officials

August 23, 2019


Bosasa paid a group of MPs, monthly bribes,
in order for them to manage the negative media scrutiny, over the company’s tenders it had
with the department, in which they had oversight, the company’s former chief operating officer,
Angelo Agrizzi said on Monday 21 January 2019. Agrizzi told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry
that, Bosasa chief executive, Gavin Watson, was paying monthly bribes to the members of
the portfolio committee on correctional services, including its then chairperson, Vincent Smith,
to look the other way when questions were raised about Bosasa’s government contracts. At the time, Bosasa, now trading as African
Global Operations, had a multi-million rand contract with the Department of Justice and
Constitutional Development, and Correctional Services, for the implementation of access
control and surveillance equipment, at various courts across the country. But the company was dodged by media scrutiny,
after the Special Investigating Unit started probing its affairs. “A decision was made that, the Parliamentary
committee would manage the negative impact of the media coverage on Bosasa, so that it
wouldn’t impact on future business. It was agreed that MPs, Vincent Smith, Vincent
Magagula and Winnie Ngwenya, would receive monthly cash payments to ensure an end to
negative media coverage of Bosasa’s dealings with correctional services,” Agrizzi said. “Vincent Smith would be paid R45 000, Vincent
Magagula would be paid R30 000, and Winnie Ngwenya would be paid R20 000. Even though they didn’t have powers to allocate
tenders, they have very strong ability to make life difficult, or raise objections.” Agrizzi said, Smith would also intervene when
former correctional services commissioner, Zach Modise, was applying pressure over the
favourable attitude towards Bosasa, and also assisted during committee meetings in Parliament,
to ensure favourable decisions towards Bosasa. Asked to provide specific instances, Agrizzi
said, he recalled many occasions, when he met Smith at a Mugg and Bean, located at mezzanine
level, in Clear-water Mall, west of Johannesburg, while Ngwenya collected her cash at Bosasa
offices, together with her husband, who drove her there. He said the payments to Magagula and Ngwenya
stopped, when they were no longer members of the committee. Agrizzi said that, from 2008 to 2016, Bosasa
paid R500 000 a month, to officials of the correctional services department, but this
was later increased to R750 000 a month, when Tom Moyane was appointed as the national commissioner,
to accommodate payments to Moyane, and other officials. Agrizzi said, the payments to Smith increased
to R100 000 per month. Agrizzi also confirmed that, Bosasa installed
a security system, and a camera system at Smith’s Constantia Kloof house in Roodepoort,
which included an alarm system, electric fencing, and various other security infrastructural
hardware. Bosasa also paid university fees for Smith’s
daughter, at Aberswyth University, in Wales, through a front company. At this instance, Agrizzi denied Smith’s version,
which he had loaned him the money to pay for his daughter’s university fees. Earlier in the day, Agrizzi revealed that
Environmental Affairs Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, was on a R50 000 monthly retainer, among other
benefits she enjoyed from Bosasa. Agrizzi said that, the alleged R50 000 monthly
bribe to Mokonyane, took place from the period 2002 until Agrizzi left Bosasa in 2016. Bosasa manipulated tender processes at the
Department of Correctional Services, to suit its needs, and that the company would sometimes
be awarded contracts without following due process. Agrizzi said, the root of tender manipulation
at the department went back to 2004, when Bosasa chief executive, Gavin Watson, roped
in the department’s chief financial officer, Patrick Gillingham, and bribed him to give
Bosasa, now trading as African Global Operations, a lucrative catering tender in the prisons. Agrizzi said, Bosasa executives and Gillingham,
embarked on correctional facility tours, paid for by Bosasa and he, Agrizzi, was asked to
compile a report for the purpose of compiling a full evaluation of the state of the catering
at the correctional facilities, and what role Bosasa could play as a consultant. However, as it turned out, Agrizzi’s report
became the “blueprint” to the tender specifications issued in the tender bid, and Bosasa ended
up winning the tender, valued at R230 million per year. Agrizzi explained how the costings in the
bid document, were manipulated to reflect fewer special meals for diabetic inmates,
which cost double the price of standard meals. This would make the bid in lower, while Bosasa
would bill higher once the tender was awarded. “I pointed out to Gavin Watson, that large
portions of the analysis report I had submitted, as well as its conclusions, appeared to have
been used as the specifications’ document, which formed part of the invitation to bid
for the catering tender,” Agrizzi said. “His response to me was that he had it under
control, and he told me that we were going to be awarded the tender, and that I must
just do the paper work.” Agrizzi said that, he received a substantial
salary increase for his troubles, doubling his monthly salary from just over R200 000
to R406 000. Gillingham was, apparently, paid a R110 000
bribe every month. At some point in 2013, Agrizzi said that the
department was about to issue a tender for access control systems, and Watson instructed
him to draft the tender specifications, and include features that, Bosasa and its IT subsidiary,
Sondolo, would would be able to fulfil. In fact, Agrizzi said, Sondolo IT was created
specifically for this tender, as Bosasa was initially going to bid for it, but it was
Watson’s last-minute thought, to change the name of the bid company on the documents to
exclude suspicion. “They had captured the department, and inevitably
there would be additional costs because they had nobody to run the system,” Agrizzi said. Angelo Agrizzi has detailed how Bosasa, allegedly,
footed the bill for ANC rallies in Gauteng, at the insistence of environmental affairs
minister, Nomvula Mokonyane. Agrizzi said the company paid for a host of
ANC events, including the Siyanqoba rallies, which are held before elections. He alleged the requests were made by Mokonyane,
through Bosasa’s boss, Gavin Watson. “There were rallies where we would have
to cater for 40,000 or 50,000 people. We would get ridiculous requests, saying we
would need to cater for supporters, ten thousand at a time,” Agrizzi said. He could not recall an exact number, but he
said, Bosasa paid for at least a dozen ANC events, including catering and cakes. Agrizzi said he would receive “ridiculous
requests” from Mokonyane to cater for birthday parties. One party in particular, was former president
Jacob Zuma’s 72nd birthday celebration. Agrizzi said, he designed the cake, and that
it even featured Bosasa’s logo. So close was the alleged relationship between
Mokonyane and Bosasa that, Agrizzi says, the minister’s daughter would request a specific
car from a rental company, and that after numerous crashes, he sat her down, and offered
her driver training. “Mokonyane’s daughter would call me up, and
request specifically, an Audi A3 cabriolet. I called her in one day, and sat her down,
and asked her if I could arrange driver training for her,” Agrizzi said. “There were numerous requests given through
the year, between 2002 and 2003. These included organising and paying for funerals
in respect of deceased family members, rental vehicles for two to three months at time for
her daughter, and numerous catering for rallies on her instruction,” Agrizzi told the commission. Testifying at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry
into State capture, Agrizzi said that when the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) started
probing and compiling a report into the affairs of Bosasa, chief executive Gavin Watson panicked
and ordered a system wipe out of any incriminating evidence. The SIU report dealt with four multi-billion
rand contracts, Bosasa held with the Department of Correctional Services for catering, access
control, CCTV and fencing. It also had details of Bosasa corruption,
including a matric dance dress for former correctional services chief financial officer,
Patrick Gillingham’s daughter, that Bosasa paid for. This was after negative media reports surfaced
on how Bosasa used its VIP account, with travel agent, Blake’s Travel, to facilitate and bankroll
holiday trips, and travel arrangements of senior government officials linked to its
lucrative contracts, including former correctional services commissioner, Linda Mti and his wife. Agrizzi said when media reports around Bosasa’s
corruption emerged, Bosasa chief executive, Gavin Watson instructed him and chief financial
officer, Andries van Tonder, to attend to Blake’s Travel, and collect all documents
and computers and destroy them. “After collecting all computers and documents,
we drove to Luipaardsvlei hostel, a property which belonged to Bosasa, and at that stage
was being revamped and was a construction site, opposite Bosasa offices,” Agrizzi said. “There was already an existing hole. We threw all the collected items into the
hole. Ryno Roode, an employee of Bosasa, brought
us petrol, which we poured over the items, and set them alight. After the fire had burnt out, Gerhard van
der Bank, another Bosasa employee, operated a front-end loader to close up the hole.” Agrizzi said after that incident, Watson instructed
an employee at Bosasa to re-write the travel orders, using fictitious names as part of
the cover-up. Following that incident, Agrizzi said, Watson
instructed one of the IT specialists to fake a server crash and destroy files that could
implicate the company, before the investigators could gather evidence. But before certain information was destroyed
on the servers, Agrizzi said, copies were made of the hard drives. Agrizzi said one Sunday while he was entertaining
American clients for lunch, Watson called, and told him that the SIU would raid Bosasa
offices the following day. Agrizzi said he was then instructed to rush
to the Bosasa office, and get rid of all the incriminating documents, particularly in relation
to Phezulu Fencing, and an agreement between Mti and Watson regarding payments of bribes. Mti was allegedly on a hefty R100,000 retainer
from Bosasa, after facilitating a R486 million contract to fence 66 prisons across the country. He said the SIU officials eventually did make
mirror images of Bosasa servers, but Watson managed to hire two men to delete the incriminating
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