Agrizzi testifies on Bosasa ‘bribe money’ vault video
The cash-filled vault was used to pay bribes — and pay off staff to keep quiet about them
On Thursday, former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi took the state-capture commission of inquiry through a video showing “bribe money” being moved into CEO Gavin Watson’s vault.
Bosasa, which is now named African Global Operations, has been the beneficiary of multi-billion-rand contracts with the state and has been implicated in widespread allegations of corruption.
Agrizzi was Watson’s right-hand man at Bosasa from 1999 until his resignation in 2016. This is the first time the commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, has heard evidence about state capture not linked to the Guptas.
The commission was shown cellphone footage allegedly recorded by Bosasa’s CFO Andries van Tonder. The video shows Van Tonder removing a box of cash from the company secretary’s vault and moving it to what Agrizzi referred to as Watson’s vault.
Agrizzi told the commission that the vault in the secretary’s office contained documents relating to a Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) investigation into the company, as well as documents from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Agrizzi said the documents were unlawfully obtained.
He gave a detailed description of the footage that shows Watson, Joe Gumede, who is Bosasa’s executive chairman, and Papa Leshabane, a director at the firm.
In the first two minutes of the video, Watson can be seen carrying two thick wads of cash, which Agrizzi confidently said was R100,000. Leshabane can also be seen carrying two grey bags, which Agrizzi said were exclusively used for carrying cash bribes.
Zondo, more than once, asked Agrizzi if the bags in question were ever used to carry anything else but bribes during his 19 years at Bosasa. Agrizzi was emphatic that they were not used for anything else. “I am willing to say that extremely positively, and to bet all the money in the safe on it as well,” Agrizzi said.
He later clarified that the money in the grey bags was not exclusively used just to pay outsiders, but also to pay off staff to keep quiet about it.
On Wednesday, Agrizzi detailed how the facilities management firm forked out millions of rand in bribes a month to secure tenders at mining companies and state institutions. He said the firm would spend between R4m and R6m a month paying bribes.
In 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that a payment made on behalf of Watson into a trust account was used to fund his campaign to become president of the ANC, after first telling parliament the money was paid to his son Andile in terms of a valid consulting contract with Bosasa he had seen personally. The president later said the donation by Watson to his campaign had been made without his knowledge.