Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi is expected to give explosive evidence to the state-capture inquiry implicating himself and high-profile individuals in the government.

Agrizzi’s appearance at the commission had been kept under wraps because he was receiving death threats, head of the legal team Paul Pretorius told commission chair, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. The commission was providing Agrizzi with protection and the threats were reported to the Hawks. 

Bosasa, which has been renamed African Global Operations, has been the beneficiary of multi-billion-rand contracts with the state and has been implicated in widespread allegations of corruption.

Pretorius, giving a summary of Agrizzi’s testimony, said the former Bosasa COO would give evidence about how he had received information about the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) from SAA chair and close ally of former president Jacob Zuma, Dudu Myeni. There is also a video, that will be shown to the commission, of Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson counting out money to be paid to former correctional services CFO Patrick Gillingham as an alleged bribe.

Pretorius told Zondo that the legal team and investigators are being careful with Agrizzi’s testimony and taking all steps to verify the information he provides.

So far, the investigating team has been able to verify photos taken of confidential NPA documents handed to Agrizzi and Watson at the Sheraton Hotel in September 2015 by matching the carpet pattern and confirming that Myeni was staying at the hotel at the time.

According to News24, Agrizzi is in the process of obtaining a section 204 indemnity in exchange for his testimony at a possible criminal trial.

He told the commission on Wednesday he is aware that he is implicating himself in unlawful acts. When asked why he is only coming forward now, Agrizzi told the commission he had a near-death experience and was in a coma. When he came out of it he made the decision to come clean.

In November, President Cyril Ramaphosa made a written correction to his reply to a question in the National Assembly about his and his family’s dealings with Bosasa. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane initially said he had evidence that Ramaphosa’s son had received a payment from Bosasa, via a trust account. Ramaphosa said at the time that he spoke to his son and that a contract he had with Bosasa was above board. He later corrected this, saying that Watson had donated R500,000 to his campaign to become president of the ANC. Ramaphosa said the donation was made without his knowledge. 

In September, it emerged that senior ANC MP Vincent Smith had been paid ‘‘at least” R670,000 by Bosasa over the past three years and had allegedly accepted security installations at his home valued at R200,000.

Smith confirmed at the time that he had entered into an agreement for ‘‘a personal loan with Mr A Agrizzi”. The loan was for his daughter’s university fees and was processed in two separate payments: R220,000 in 2015 and R395,000 in 2016.

He denied that Bosasa had installed CCTV cameras at his home, adding that he was in “support of being held accountable” and would “participate in the parliamentary process led by the ethics committee”.

CORRECTION: The former Bosasa COO's first name is Angelo and not Adriano as initially reported. 

quintalg@businesslive.co.za