JOHANNESBURG – Ex-Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi on Monday told the state capture inquiry former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni showed Bosasa executives an NPA report on an investigation into the company’s corrupt activities and that government officials often frequented Bosasa’s head office.
Agrizzi said Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson told him one afternoon that he had received a call from Myeni requesting a meeting.
"She told him [Gavin Watson] she had some documents and it was critical that they meet. Gavin asked me to attend the meeting with him at Sheraton Hotel [in Pretoria, opposite the Union Buildings]. We took along R300 000 cash with us for her."
Myeni told the two executives that she had been in a long meeting with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as part of her attempts to thwart the investigation into Bosasa’s alleged corrupt activities across government departments. Agrizzi said Myeni produced a file that looked like a docket, took out a few pages and handed the file to him to look at, but he was not permitted to make copies or take photographs as it was a confidential document.
"I took the file and asked to be excused as I needed some quietness around me to look at the file properly and write down the notes. I put the papers on the couch and the floor next to me…I knew it was too extensive to write down everything, so I thought I should take a few photographs. I could see from where she was sitting that she was getting nervous and fidgety, and I did not have time… so I took pictures of some of the information in the document," said Agrizzi.
The report contained names of suspects who were the subject of the investigation, including Bosasa executives such as Andries Van Tonder, Dr. Smith, Agrizzi and former correctional services boss Linda Mti, among others. Watson’s name did not appear in the list, Agrizzi said.
When Myeni asked him if he took photographs after the meeting, Agrizzi said "no, I didn’t". He said he saved the photographs on his cellphone, and handed them to the commission’s investigators. Evidence leader Paul Pretorius told the commission that the carpet pattern on Agrizzi’s photos was found to be a match with carpeting on the sixth floor of the Sheraton.
Agrizzi said Watson specifically asked Myeni that she go to Zuma and have the investigation "shut down immediately", to which Myeni replied: "I’ll work on it."
The former Bosasa COO further testified about how company executives were introduced to Zuma. He said the first instance was at Zuma’s Johannesburg house in Forest Town soon after he was elected ANC president in Polokwane, 2007.
Zuma’s "prayer warrior", Zuki Madonga from East London, who worked with Zuma during his rape trial, was the first person who offered to introduce Watson to Zuma.
"Zuki arrived at our offices one early morning, she was introduced to me by Tiny Makoko. Later when Watson was there she was introduced to him too. I was then asked to top up Tiny Makoko’s credit card because she wanted to go buy dresses for the lady [Madonga]. I processed the top up, and later received a phone call from Watson to pick him up to take him to the Forest Town house to meet with Zuma. I sat in the car while Gavin had a meeting with him [Zuma]."
Madonga then went off the radar after some time, said Agrizzi. Myeni then came to the fore, replacing Madonga, ensuring unfettered Bosasa access to the former president.
Agrizzi testified that various high profile people, mainly government officials and ministers, frequented the Bosasa head office in Krugersdorp in the West Rand.
"We showed them what we were doing during a four-and-a-half-hour tour of the Bosasa campus. We trained staff to give them a rendition of what they were doing. We had numerous people…from the minister of health right up to former president Zuma. He [Zuma] spent four hours with us on a Saturday morning."
Watson said he told Zuma to shut down the investigations into Bosasa at a meeting at Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
"The request was that [now communication minister] Nomvula Mokonyane speak to [former SIU head] Anwa Dramat to shut down the case. Dramat would not engage Mokonyane and avoided her calls."
Watson, having met Zuma several times, had bragged during meetings with other executives about how close he was to the former president, said Agrizzi.
"He always praised Zuma on how phenomenal and how brilliant a president he was …he had a very good rapport with him. He believed he was totally bullet proof with Zuma by his side."
Earlier, Agrizzi testified that Bosasa paid Myeni R300 000 cash every month and gave her a once-off Louis Vuitton hand bag, as she was "a powerful person" and enjoyed a close relationship with Zuma.
African News Agency (ANA)