Agrizzi urges more whisteblowers to come forward, despite arrests

26 February 2019 - 06:00
By Nonkululeko Njilo
Angelo Agrizzi has urged others to come forward to blow the whistle on state capture.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell Angelo Agrizzi has urged others to come forward to blow the whistle on state capture.

For Angelo Agrizzi, delivering his damning testimony at the state capture commission has done wonders for his health.

“I am in perfect health. My health couldn’t have been better. I think with all the stress that I’ve been through in the past 19 years taken away … I think that my health is phenomenal. I am pretty healthy and active,” he said.

The former COO of controversial state contractor Bosasa was speaking to private investigator Chad Thomas on ChaiFM's Confidential Brief Show on Monday.

Agrizzi described working at Bosasa as being in a cult-like environment. “Using religion and using prayer meetings every morning to be able to communicate to people and to kind of cover up the bad stuff … makes it a cult. We’ve seen it all over the world,” he said.

During his testimony before the state capture inquiry headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, Agrizzi presented a six-minute video showing wads of cash being counted by Bosasa staff, allegedly to pay bribes.

Former president Jacob Zuma, environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane, former SAA board chair Dudu Myeni and former Sars boss Tom Moyane were some of the big names fingered during his testimony.

Days after completing his testimony, Agrizzi was arrested along with six others for the allegedly corrupt awarding of tenders worth R1.6bn from the correctional services department. The group was later released on R20,000 bail each.

Agrizzi described the arrest as a shock, saying it could hinder other whistleblowers from coming forward. "Unfortunately, that kind of sends out a message to the general whistleblowers, which we didn’t want, that rather don’t say anything because you're gonna get locked up," he said.

Despite threats and criminal charges, Agrizzi urged other whistleblowers to come forward and expose corruption, for the good of future generations.

“Still do it - even if they are gonna arrest you, so what? If they arrest you, you're going to spend an hour or so in front of the magistrate and you're going to tell your story and the truth will come out … Don’t stop. Go out there do it and work with authorities … because if you don’t, what’s going to happen to children, going forward?” he said.

During the interview a caller asked how Agrizzi was able to sleep at night after being involved in corrupt dealings. Agrizzi replied: “I sleep very well, thank you. Before [his testimony at the state capture inquiry] I didn't, but now I do."

Speaking about his background prior to Bosasa, Agrizzi said he started off his career as a food enthusiast. “I was very involved in food. I started learning how to bake bread at the age of 14,” he said.

Asked what he would have done differently over the past 19 years, Agrizzi answered: "I would have stayed away from Bosasa. Unfortunately I got sucked into this thing and I became part of it."