News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
24 Jan 2019
11:22 am

Bosasa paid journalists to ‘give information’ and ‘work with them’ – Agrizzi

Makhosandile Zulu

The former COO says the journalists were bribed to presumably write good stories about the company.

Angelo Agrizzi, former COO of Bosasa, a company that had contracts with government institutions, testifies at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture investigating alleged corruption under ex-president Jacob Zuma. AFP/WIKUS DE WET

Former Bosasa chief operating officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Thursday that the company paid journalists presumably to write good stories about Bosasa.

Agrizzi, however, did not name any journalists nor did he name the media houses or publications they worked for at the time.

Agrizzi was giving testimony on Thursday detailing a clandestine coding system he, company CEO Gavin Watson, and Jacques van Zyl used around 2007 for packing bribery money which would be handed to officials from the department of correctional services whom Bosasa officials had listed.

The department awarded tenders to Bosasa, which included providing nutritional services to the department, with the company’s subsidiaries, Phezulu and Sondolo IT, were given the tenders for erecting fences and installing dysfunctional surveillance equipment in prisons across the country, all of which amounted to billions of rands.

Agrizzi told the commission earlier in the week that the fencing contract at the department was initially an estimated at R500 million, an amount which ballooned over time.

Sondolo IT was awarded the contract to install TV net systems in prisons across the country which was worth over R224 million.

Agrizzi told the commission on Wednesday that he compiled the lists and Watson would approve whether those listed should be bribed by the company.

The witness said Watson decided which officials would be paid while Van Zyl packed the money and he, Agrizzi, did the “verification” and talks with officials from the department.

One list that Agrizzi went through during his testimony included the department’s contracts manager, Josiah Maako, who was paid R15,000 monthly; Maria Mabena, who was responsible for catering and development and received R10,000; commissioner Shishi Matabela who was given R10,000; commissioner Mkhabela, who’s first name Agrizzi said he could not recall and who was paid R10,000; the head of procurement Dikeledi Tshabalala who was paid R15,000; Zack Modise who, Agrizzi said, was at the time responsible for a region, and who received R20,00o before he was promoted to being national commissioner when the  “amount increased significantly”; and Mollot Ngubo, who was responsible for finance and received R15,000.

Agrizzi said these officials were identified as influential officials within the department when Linda Mti resigned as commissioner in 2006.

The witness’s testimony continues:

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.