28 January 2019

South Africa: Bosasa - Agrizzi Tells of Instructions to Zuma, Myeni's Handbag and Cheeky Watson's Role

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The penultimate day of former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi's great reveal at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture was one of the most dramatic, with former president Jacob Zuma and his close friend and confidante Dudu Myeni taking centre stage.

Agrizzi, who will wrap up his testimony on Tuesday - his ninth day on the witness stand - explained in detail what the nature of Bosasa and Gavin Watson's relationship with Myeni was, and how Watson visited Zuma on numerous occasions. He also gave his version of the end of his employment at Bosasa.

This is what you need to know after day eight of Agrizzi's testimony:

- Myeni met Watson and Agrizzi at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria (just across the road from the Union Buildings) where she handed them confidential NPA documents.

- The documents detailed the state of the Hawks' investigation into Bosasa and irregularities with tenders from the Department of Correctional Services.

- Agrizzi took photographs of the documents and the commission's investigators have established its authenticity, thanks to the background of the images.

- Myeni, who was considered very important to Bosasa's interests "because she could sway deals", set up a meeting at Nkandla between Zuma, Watson and Bosasa, and representatives of a company that wanted in on fracking in the Karoo.

- Zuma agreed to help them change regulations and asked the company's legal representative to get in touch with those of the Department of Mineral Resources.

- Agrizzi: "Suffice to say that Zuma favoured Bosasa."

- Watson, according to Agrizzi, also "instructed" Zuma to do something about the Hawks' investigation into the company.

- Watson called Zuma a "great" and "phenomenal" president.

- By August 2016, Agrizzi said he had had "enough" and resigned. He was harassed by Cheeky Watson, Gavin Watson's brother and a well-known rugby figure, to return to Bosasa because he was "chosen by God" to lead the company.

- Agrizzi agreed to return after he was offered a large contract and given free rein in the company. But in November 2016, it dawned on him that Gavin Watson "wasn't sincere" with him.

Earlier on Monday Agrizzi testified that:

- Gavin Watson, the Bosasa supremo, was worried that Myeni was not delivering all of the money meant for Zuma and asked him about it directly. He said " yes" when Watson asked him, he does get monthly payments from Myeni.

- At the meeting between Watson and Zuma, he put a bag full of money next to the former ANC president.

- Agrizzi said he didn't believe that Zuma's foundation "got any money" at all.

- After testifying last week that Bosasa paid journalists to write positive stories about the company as well as provide them with information, he named Pinky Khoabane, a former columnist for the Sunday Times, one "Bongs" who was a journalist in the Eastern Cape and "Ntuli", who used to work for The Star or the Sunday Times.

- Bosasa also had Stephen Laufer and Benedicta Dube on its payroll. They worked as media consultants.

- Dube was paid to intimidate and harass journalists, including Adriaan Basson and Carien du Plessis, who exposed the Bosasa network and related corruption. The company actively tried to discredit and link them to "the Stellenbosch people", Agrizzi testified.

- Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has called on the investigating team to provide the commission with a full list of all government contracts with Bosasa, past or present.

- Watson was "quite open" about the fact that he paid Myeni R300 000 monthly.

- Myeni, a close friend of Zuma, a former chairperson of the SAA board and chairperson of the Zuma foundation, was important to Bosasa, Agrizzi testified. She had influence in government and could "swing deals".

- Agrizzi saw a Louis Vuitton handbag stuffed with R300 000 for her at Bosasa's offices. This handbag was delivered to Myeni, who thanked Agrizzi for it. "She was over the moon," he told Zondo.

Agrizzi is expected to conclude his testimony on Tuesday.

Source: News24

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