News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
27 Mar 2019
12:06 pm

WATCH: Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson instructed others to act illegally – Venter

Makhosandile Zulu

Peet Venter says the CEO made several demands, including delivering a bag with money to former DCS COO Patrick Gillingham.

Former Bosasa auditor Peet Venter.

The former auditor of Bosasa, Peet Venter, told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday that the CEO of the controversial company, Gavin Watson, always wanted someone else to blame for his actions, would instruct people to act illegally, and would later discard them to get rid of the evidence, thereby ensuring no fingers got pointed at him.

On the second day of this testimony, Venter added that Watson never signed any documents.

However, he told the commission that this evidence contained in an affidavit submitted by Bosasa’s former COO, Angelo Agrizzi, in particular, that Watson instructed people to act illegally, was included by someone else in the affidavit he signed on December 18, 2017.

On Tuesday, Venter clarified to the commission some of the inaccurate and incorrect aspects of this statement which he said had been edited by Agrizzi and that he signed it on a later day under duress.

READ MORE: Agrizzi threatened Bosasa’s former auditor to sign statement exposing Watson

The statement submitted by Agrizzi led to Venter’s suspension at Bosasa. Venter thereafter resigned. Venter told the commission that Agrizzi had used the statement to blackmail him.

The chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, asked the witness if it is was true that Watson had instructed people to perform illegal acts.

“I was instructed to make payments on behalf of Mr Watson so I can only elaborate on that,” Venter responded, adding that Agrizzi and Bosasa’s former CFO, Andries van Tonder, told him that Watson had instructed them to carry out illegal acts and so can only testify on hearsay.

Venter said, however, that because Watson did not have an office, did not have a secretary, and did not have a computer, the Bosasa CEO instructed others to carry out functions.

The witness told the commission that he only dealt with Watson in the last year and a half of his employ at Bosasa.

The payments which Watson instructed Venter to effect were for the legal fees of former SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, a R500,000 payment to President Cyril Ramphosa’s son’s foundation, and a delivery of cash wrapped in a greyish plastic bag to former department of correctional services (DCS) COO Patrick Gillingham.

During his marathon testimony, Agrizzi told the commission that he made regular “coincidental and business” visits to an airport to deliver grey security bags filled with money to certain officials.

READ MORE: Bosasa spent between R4m and R6m on bribes a month, Agrizzi claims

Venter told the commission on Wednesday that he regarded those payments “as illegal as [Watson] didn’t give too much detail to me,” reiterating what he said on Tuesday that he did not question the company’s CEO when given instructions.

Venter’s response to whether he knew if Watson discarded people as a way of getting rid of evidence was that “when they found out that I still had contact with Agrizzi and Van Tonder that’s when they discarded me,” adding that Watson no longer trusted him.

“There were no fingers pointing to Mr Watson because he used people,” Venter told the commission.

Venter said Watson kept making illegal demands, with the “last nail in the coffin” being when he was instructed to deliver a parcel containing money to Gillingham.

On October 27, 2017, Venter met Gillingham at his office to discuss the latter’s pension payouts, however, before this meeting, Venter had had a meeting at Bosasa offices, where Watson, who was aware that Venter would meet Gillingham on the day, called him and said he, Venter, should meet his daughter, Lindsey Watson, who gave Venter a parcel to hand over to Gillingham.

Venter said Lindsey Watson did give him a greyish plastic bag which he assumed had money. He said he was never told why Gillingham was given the money.

Venter said this was the first and last time he delivered money to any individual.

Watch the proceedings live:

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