angelo agrizzi state capture inquiry

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 29: Former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture on January 29, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. On his last day testimony, Agrizzi admitted he is a racist, but denied that his evidence is motivated by racism. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

Angelo Agrizzi says ANC’s Cedric Frolick was a handler, unpacks more rot

These are scary times in South Africa…

angelo agrizzi state capture inquiry

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 29: Former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture on January 29, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. On his last day testimony, Agrizzi admitted he is a racist, but denied that his evidence is motivated by racism. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

Angelo Agrizzi, on Friday, made his eleventh appearance before the Zondo commission, a record count for any witness that has been called to the hot seat thus far.

It seems, though, that this will be a crucial part of the inquiry, which is expected to run for a period of two years.

For the most part, Agrizzi’s testimony has uncovered the other side of government that operates in darker, dingy corridors.

Angelo Agrizzi tells all once again

On Friday, the former chief operations officer (COO) of Bosasa (now trading as African Global Operations), sat down before Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo to continue giving evidence about his first-hand experience with a corrupt South African government.

ReadAngelo Agrizzi unveils deep corruption links between Bosasa and government

We heard the day before, about how involved Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, was in the luring of high-ranking government officials into illicit activity.

The country heard about Minister of Environmental Affairs, Nomvula Mokonyane’s true ranking in power when she was the premier of Gauteng.

We also got a snap preview of how the ANC’s election campaigns between 2014 and 2016, were funded by Bosasa in some way or the other.

We have yet to find out about who the figure in Top Six is who allegedly received a bribe figure that ranges between R10-12-million in bribes from Watson, something that Agrizzi was visibly shaken by. Hence, he opted to rather digress from it.

ReadState capture inquiry: ANC wants to cross-examine Angelo Agrizzi

This is what the former COO unpacked in Friday’s fiery testimony.

State capture inquiry: Key revelations in Agrizzi’s testimony

Agrizzi admits he was complicit in corruption

The inquiry’s key witness, Agrizzi, implored, at the start of proceedings that, people to not be diselusioned by his willingness to assist the commission with information.

He was well aware of his involvement in the corruption that took place between Bosasa and the government, and he benefitted immensely from it.

“I was so involved in the complete culture […] the cult […] I also benefitted, I received holidays, I had a good lifestyle and I just wanted to be frank with you, Chair,” he said.

How Cedric Frolick was Vincent Smith’s handler

Agrizzi wasted no time in dishing out another high-ranking ANC official. Cedric Frolick was, according to the former COO, “the Chair of Chairs”.

Frolick was appointed, in 2010, by the ANC as the National Assembly’s House Chairperson, responsible for committees, ICT and oversight.

Agrizzi testified that Frolick had a good relationship with Watson. The embattled Bosasa CEO allegedly needed Frolick a source of deflection. Especially from people like Vincent Smith, who on occasion, came sniffing around their illicit activities.

On the back of a report by the special investigative unit (SIU) that found traces of evidence that suggested that there was a corrupt link between Bosasa and the government contracts they seemingly always won, Smith, who, at the time was the chairperson of the justice and correctional services portfolio committee, was seen as “a problematic MP” by Watson.

Frolick’s job, according to Agrizzi, was to keep politicians, including Smith, who had issues with Bosasa silent. His role was to allegedly turn them.

This ties in with Agrizzi’s testimony in January where he alleged that Smith has been convinced to work for Bosasa at a monthly bribe rate of R100 000 per month.

ReadBosasa scandal: ANC confirms Vincent Smith will ‘step aside’ as chairperson

However, the rot ran deeper than that. Frolick, according to the former COO, received a monthly payment of R40 000, and he, yet again, placed himself as an eye witness to one account where the money was stored in a grey security bag and shoved in the House chairperson’s pocket.

Agrizzi maintained, though, that Smith was a thorn on Bosasa’s flesh. He kept asking questions about the facilities management company.

He tried valiantly, according to Agrizzi, to counter and expose the company’s illegal activities but Frolick was there to deflect all attacks.

He also recalled a time when he was allegedly instructed by Watson to go hand over a package to his brother, Valence Watson, in Port Elizabeth. The package was to be handed over to Frolick by the CEO’s brother, Agrizzi claimed.

He also recalled another occasion when he and Gibson Njenje, the former director-general of the national intelligence agency (NIA), were sent to a meeting in Parliament, Cape Town, with a highly irritable Smith. Agrizzi claimed the meeting “actually didn’t go well at all,”

However, the former COO would later claim that Smith was successfully turned, by either Frolick or other forces.

This, he said, was evident when, after he had recovered from a coma, he was assured, over the phone, by Watson that a case related to a shoddy contract with the department of correctional services came up. All parties, including Watson and Smith, agreed that the case ought to be thrown out.

Accommodating Minister Michael Masutha

Another shocking revelation Agrizzi made was the involvement of Michael Masutha, the minsiter of justice and correctional services, with the Watsons.

On one occasion, he testified, he was expected at a meeting between the Watson brothers and Masutha at their residence in Port Elizabeth but he never attended it.

Agrizzi rubbishes Dudu Myeni’s testimony

Agrizzi laid into the testimony of Dudu Myeni. Remember, the former chairperson of South African Airways was fingered as the one who was responsible for seeing to it that Bosasa funds were paid into the accounts of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Myeni had alleged that she had only ever been to the Bosasa offices once during a tour with the former president. This, according to Agrizzi, was not true.

In fact, the former COO recalled four distinct occasions where he had witnessed Myeni at the Bosasa offices. He further alleged that she too was the beneficiary of the notorious grey security bag.

Gavin Watson was the godfather of Bosasa

Agrizzi told the inquiry that if you removed Watson from the picture, there would literally be no Bosasa.

“He was the godfather of Bosasa, everything went through him […] what amounts were paid out, he controlled the cash, Gavin himself decided what amounts went out,” he said.

More details of Linda Mti’s dealings with Bosasa

Agrizzi furnished more information that sealed Linda Mti’s (former national head of correctional services) involvement in illegal activities with the Watsons.

ReadBosasa arrests: Hawks have yet to arrest these implicated state officials

These are just some of the things Agrizzi bore witness to:

  • An instance where Mti was handed over a bag of money by Watson at a restaurant in Sandton, called either the Godfather or the Codfather;
  • golfing equipment owned by Mti, an avid golfer, that was purchased by Watson as a ‘gift’;
  • a luxury clothing shop in Sandton where Agrizzi had to pay for costs incurred by Mti’s shopping;
  • a shoe shop in Umhlanga that Agrizzi had to go settle a R19 000 bill for a pair of shoes;
  • occasions where Mti would open the trunk of his car in broad daylight and allow Watson to drop a suitcase with an estimated R150 000 in it;

A Bosasa-funded State of the Nation Address

Another shocking revelation Agrizzi made was regarding the financing of the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Although, he did not make mention of which Sona this was. However, he indicated that Bosasa had funded the ceremony as well as the afterparty, that took place at Cubana in Cape Town.

All of this evidence, as agregious as it may be, has to be tested and the commission is set to continue on Monday, 1 April.