POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Explosive Bosasa testimony to continue as Mpati launches PIC inquiry
All eyes will also be on the Zondo inquiry as former Bosasa executive Agrizzi continues his explosive testimony from last week
The state capture inquiry is set to dominate the headlines again this week following explosive revelations by former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi.
This is as political parties continue to hit the campaign trail hard and while the ANC looks to finalise its candidate list ahead of the 2019 national elections.
The much anticipated inquiry looking into the affairs of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is scheduled to begin sitting on Monday.
Agrizzi is due to continue with his testimony at the state capture inquiry on Monday. In his jaw-dropping testimony last week, he detailed how the company, now known as African Global Operations, paid out millions of rand in bribes every month in order to secure tenders at state institutions.
He also implicated the ANC, stating that about R1.8m was paid to the party for its election campaign in the North West five years ago. Agrizzi said about 80 people were on Bosasa’s list of people it paid bribes to monthly.
He also implicated the secretary of the Zondo commission, Dr Khotso De Wee, who has since taken special leave from the inquiry pending the outcome of a probe that he received payments from Bosasa during his tenure as COO of the department of justice. The Sunday Times published a story saying Agrizzi is this week likely to name a former president, ministers and senior National Prosecuting Authority staff who were on Bosasa’s payroll.
According to Agrizzi, De Wee was among the justice department officials who were paid bribes in 2013 by Bosasa. Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, in a statement on Friday, said De Wee offered to take special leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the claims. A new acting secretary will soon be appointed.
The commission of inquiry into state capture has heard damning evidence from its surprise witness, Angelo Agrizzi, since Wednesday January 16 2019. Tiso Blackstar associate editor, Ranjeni Munusamy and Sunday Times political reporter, Qaanitah Hunter have a sit-down discussion about what this evidence could mean for the commission, and other witnesses, going forward. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive
Meanwhile, the DA said at the weekend that it will be submitting a complaint to the Independent Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) regarding the alleged funding the ANC received from Bosasa.
“If Bosasa contributed laundered money to the ANC’s election campaign, the company must also be reported to the SA Police Service for violating … the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, as well as … the Financial Intelligence Centre Act,” the DA’s Natasha Mazzone said.
She said the DA will lay criminal complaints against the company the moment the Zondo commission releases the transcripts of the testimony.
“Our complaints to the IEC and SAPS will supplement our public protector complaint against Cyril Ramaphosa, lodged after it was revealed that he lied to the National Assembly about a R500,000 contribution to his campaign to become ANC president by Africa Global Operations, formerly Bosasa,” said Mazzone.
The inquiry into the PIC will also be keenly watched. The commission was established by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October following ongoing allegations of impropriety at the PIC.
The commission is headed by judge Lex Mpati, assisted by former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus and accomplished investment banker Emmanuel Lediga. It must report to Ramaphosa by April 15 but it is likely to ask for an extension.
The PIC manages R2-trillion in government pension and other funds and is Africa’s largest asset manager. But it has hogged the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the past two years for alleged improprieties regarding investments and the conduct of its office bearers and employees. The terms of reference require the commission to probe and make findings on whether certain “transactions contravened PIC policy or resulted in any undue benefit for any PIC director or employee”. Also, whether “any PIC director or employee used his or her position to improperly benefit another person”.
The transactions likely to be scrutinised are the PIC’s private placement of R4.3bn in the initial public offering of Ayo Technologies in December 2017, at a price the market thought to be grossly overvalued; the PIC’s interest in investing in Sagarmatha, which was abandoned; and its investment in the S&S Oil refinery in Mozambique, in which the son of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was involved.
The commission will also probe deals that have not made it into the public eye or that took place before 2017. The role of the board will also be probed, as will internal matters ranging from the treatment of whistle-blowers to alleged discrimination in remuneration policy.
The PIC board accepted the resignation of CEO Dan Matjila in November 2018.