Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
28 Jan 2019
2:14 pm

Agrizzi testifies about Dudu Myeni and Zuma’s role in Bosasa fracking deal

Makhosandile Zulu

Due to the company's close relationship with the former SAA chairperson, they were apparently able to flout rules and regulations.

Former Bosasa operating officer Angelo Agrizzi is in a private hospital in Johannesburg following a heart attack. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former Bosasa chief operating officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi has told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday that former South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni was instrumental in a fracking deal the company sought to be part of.

Agrizzi testified on the meetings and dealings between Bosasa personnel, Myeni, and former president Jacob Zuma in the fracking transaction.

He said the company had been approached by Rahad Khrishna “to become involved with the Karoo fracking transaction” along with a company called Falcon Oil and Gas and that he, Agrizzi, was introduced to Phillip O’Quigley, Falcon Oil and Gas’s international chairperson.

To an attorney, Liezel Oberholzer – a neighbour and friend to Khrishna, Falcon Oil and Gas expressed it was looking for a facilities management company to handle its security, access control, and guarding as well as assist with operational management, Agrizzi said.

“So it was an ideal fit,” Agrizzi told the commission.

He said he knew the reason why Bosasa had been approached was that the company’s CEO, Gavin Watson, had a close relationship with Myeni.

“And obviously there would be influence from the president there – Myeni’s influence over the president. That was a critical point for us as well,” Agrizzi said.

Due to the close relation Bosasa had with Myeni, the company was able to flout rules and regulations and demand that Chevron and another company – which were important partners in the fracking deal – meet their officials at Bosasa offices, Agrizzi said.

Normal practice, Agrizzi told the commission, was that “if you wanted to be part of them, you” had to apply and appear for an interview at their – Chevron – offices.

“In our case, it was a bit different because we had Dudu Myeni on our side, everybody knew that we yielded the whip and Chevron had to comply by coming through to our offices,” he said.

Agrizzi said a major issue that had to be dealt with when it came to the fracking transaction was the restrictive regulations which were in place and so had to be amended.

“And the best person to do that would be the president and that is why we made sure that we remained very close to Dudu Myeni,” Agrizzi said.

Myeni coordinated a meeting at the president’s residence in Nkandla between Watson, Oberholzer, and O’Quigley, a meeting which took place around June 2016. At the meeting, it was agreed that Zuma would “persuade and advise” the minister of mineral resources (Mosebenzi Zwane) to amend the restrictive regulations, Agrizzi said.

“And I think everybody knows there were certain changes to the regulations,” he said.

Following the “extremely successful” meeting with Zuma, the minister’s advisors at the time were subsequently instructed to meet with Oberholzer and to make the necessary amendments to the regulations.

He said he did not attend the meeting at Nkandla but received reports from Watson, Oberholzer, and Khrishna regarding what had transpired.

Agrizzi said numerous meetings were coordinated at Nkandla and that at one occasion, Watson expressed his concern about Zuma not getting the “necessary” envelope of R300,000.

“I remember him telling me to pack it and that he would deliver directly to the president and make sure [what] he has been getting from Myeni,” Agrizzi said.

The witness said that at another meeting at Zuma’s residence, which took place soon after one of his birthday parties, during a time when the former president was headed for Russia, Zuma made time to meet Watson, Bosasa’s Joe Gumede.

At that meeting, the Hawks’ investigation into Bosasa was raised with Zuma, Agrizzi said. Zuma apparently said he would make a call or two to the Hawks.

Soon after that meeting, the Hawks contacted Gumede to arrange for a meeting with him.

“Joe Gumede actually says in one of the discussions that he [Zuma] indeed made the call,” Agrizzi said, referring to a recording submitted to the commission as evidence.

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