South Africa: Is This Proof That Zuma Did Bosasa Boss' Bidding?

On May 8, 2015, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson was secretly recorded bragging about how he would lobby then president Jacob Zuma to appoint a National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) who would "protect" high-level officials at the National Prosecuting (NPA).

In what has arguably been the most explosive testimony by former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi during his marathon first seven days before the state capture commission of inquiry, the recording was played at the hearing on Thursday.

In September 2018, News24 published details of the recording, and delved into how Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson detailed what he would say to Zuma during a scheduled meeting between the men later in May 2015 to Agrizzi, who made the recording, and former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti.

The meeting was at Mti's home.

In the recording, Watson makes several comments that point to a cosy relationship with Zuma.

Metadata on the audio clip in News24's possession shows it was recorded with an iPhone on May 8, 2015.

Watson detailed how he would lobby Zuma to appoint an NDPP who would "protect" advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi.

Also on Thursday, Agrizzi detailed how Bosasa allegedly paid bribes to Jiba and Mrwebi, nicknamed "Snake" and "Snail", since at least 2011 on a monthly basis.

They have denied receiving the cash.

"Mr President, we need to get this thing closed down. We need the right people in the right place," Watson planned on telling Zuma.

"Ntlemeza is the right guy at that place, doing what he can. Now we need to get the right person at NPA. Either we get Chauke in, or Jiba or the woman down in Natal. One of them got to...

"Look at what's happened to Jiba. Jiba is buggered up in the press, he (Zuma) told me that," said Watson.

News24 understands that Zuma told Watson this during a four-hour visit to the Bosasa offices on April 11, 2015, just a day before Zuma's birthday.

After a walk around the spacious five-hectare Bosasa head office block, an informal discussion took place.

Bosasa spent upwards of R1m in a birthday party for Zuma the very next day.

Later during the conversation Watson explains that "the president wants me to do a presentation to him when he gets back from Russia".

Zuma was in Russia on May 8 and 9, 2015.

"He (Zuma) said Jiba is his person.

"Now Jiba's been buggered up, Mrwebi has also been buggered up, okay, in the press. So how do we protect them, Mr President? By putting the right person in there. I don't know who is advising Mr President, but you need to make the right decisions now. You haven't got much time to go. That's how I talk to him," Watson said.

On June 11, 2015, Zuma appointed Shaun Abrahams as NDPP.

Within weeks Abrahams had withdrawn charges of fraud and perjury against Jiba relating to her conduct in the case against former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen.

Following the publication of the September 26, 2018, article Abrahams made contact with News24 reporters and was adamant that he was not appointed to protect anyone.

He denied ever discussing the Bosasa matter with Zuma and explained he had put his prosecutors under intense pressure to finalise the case.

Jiba also denied that Abrahams had "protected" her during an interview with News24 at the NPA offices in Pretoria.

"Even if he wanted to protect me, he could not do so," she explained, adding that once evidence of wrongdoing had been found, and a case registered, it could not just disappear.

She also denied that she had deliberately committed perjury or fraud in the Booysen matter, intimating that it had been a mistake.

She denied having any relationship with Watson or Bosasa.

Zuma had never spoken to her about any specific NPA matter, she said.

Source: News24

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