Agrizzi gives Zondo inquiry details on bribery and corruption in prison tenders
Former Bosasa COO alleges incriminating documents and computers were destroyed after media reports and start of Special Investigation Unit probe
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi has given details on how the facilities management company allegedly used its influence to ensure it got department of correctional services contracts with the help of then commissioner Linda Mti and CFO Patrick Gillingham, who were both said to be receiving bribes.
He told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Tuesday that incriminating documents and computers were destroyed after media reports and the start of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into the prison tenders.
Agrizzi, who had worked at Bosasa from 1999 to 2016 and was CEO Gavin Watson’s right-hand man, has been testifying for more than a week about corruption and bribes relating to the company’s contracts with the government.
Last week, he told the commission that every contract between the state and Bosasa was tainted by bribery and corruption.
Four Bosasa contracts with the department were investigated by the SIU, which in 2009 handed over a report to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Although the SIU said in its report that Bosasa had bribed Mti and Gillingham, there has been no prosecution since the handing over of the report.
On Tuesday, Agrizzi provided the commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, with finer details on how the tender process was set up to favour Bosasa and companies linked to it.
He also told the commission that Watson, after a Mail & Guardian report in 2009 on improper awarding of prison tenders, gave an instruction for documents and evidence to be destroyed.
The newspaper reported that it had documents showing how Bosasa used a company, Blake Travel, to facilitate travel arrangements of government officials.
Agrizzi said that the information in this report was correct.
Agrizzi said Watson instructed him and Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder to go to Blake Travel, collect all documents and computers and destroy them.
All these items were taken to a construction site, owned by Bosasa, where they were thrown into a hole and set alight. The hole was covered up.
He said a Bosasa employee was told to rewrite the travel orders with Blake Travel, using other names.
Agrizzi said that when Watson received information about the progress of the SIU on contracts with the correctional services department, he (Watson) instructed an IT specialist to “fake” a server crash at Bosasa and destroy documents that would implicate the company.
Watson had been informed that the Bosasa offices would be raided.
Agrizzi said he sent out a memo to Bosasa employees informing them of the “crash”.
However, before the documents were destroyed copies were saved on a hard drive.
Agrizzi said he had made the hard drive available to the commission as well as the Hawks.
He said he and Van Tonder were also told to go through the office and remove any incriminating documents. The documents relating to the tenders the SIU were investigating were destroyed.
The commission started studying the SIU report on Tuesday afternoon and will continue on Wednesday.
Agrizzi has confirmed the information in that SIU report.
He also gave details about how Bosasa allegedly gave bribes to Mti and Gillingham and how it provided and furnished Mti’s home and bought cars, among other things, for Gillingham and his daughter.
Bosasa chair Joe Gumede had also assisted Mti when he was charged with drink driving, providing money to bribe officials.
Bosasa continued to pay bribes to Mti even after he was no longer correctional services commissioner.