Johannesburg – Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi is on Thursday expected to talk about the breakdown of his relationship with company bosses and how he decided to blow the whistle on alleged corruption at the firm in his continued testimony before the commission probing state capture.
Over the last week, Agrizzi has accused senior members of the ruling ANC party, government officials, members of Parliament and trade union leaders of taking bribes from Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson to give the company tenders.
Agrizzi said Bosasa – now trading as Africa Global Operations – had a seriously corrupt relationship with the Department of Correctional Services which gave the facilities management company an unfair advantage over competitors in bidding for tenders.
Bosasa’s group of front companies, including Phezulu Fencing and Sondolo IT, were awarded contracts worth billions of rand to provide catering services, security and access control, CCTV and fencing in prisons from as early as 2002.
On Wednesday, Agrizzi confirmed the findings of the 2009 Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report compiled after a probe into the corrupt relationship between Bosasa and the Department of Correctional Services.
The report found that competing bidders for the R486 million tender for fencing and CCTV at various prisons were not allowed to conduct site visits in prisons and measure the length of fence needed, while Bosasa had free access.
Agrizzi said Bosasa paid officials in the department R1 million a month to put pressure on former correctional services national commissioner Vernie Petersen to "work" with them to further the company’s business interests.
He said former prisons commissioner Linda Mti, former chief financial officer of the department Patrick Gillingham and leaders of trade union Popcru were on Bosasa’s payroll, as well as KwaZulu-Natal correctional services commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele, who was allegedly paid R57,500 a month for his influence over tender decisions in the province.
On Wednesday night, reports said Nxele had been placed on "precautionary suspension", though the department said the process had commenced before he was implicated in Agrizzi’s testimony.
Agrizzi has told the state capture commission that Bosasa spent between R4 million to R6 million per month to bribe officials to score government contracts worth more than R10 billion.
After his long testimony, he is expected to be cross-examined by many of the people he has implicated.
African News Agency (ANA)