When you pay people bribes on a monthly basis, 'you control them': Ex Bosasa COO

17 January 2019 - 14:19 By Qaanitah Hunter
Angelo Agrizzi gives testimony at the commission into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg, between January 16 to January 18.
Angelo Agrizzi gives testimony at the commission into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg, between January 16 to January 18.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi said on Thursday staff members who “knew too much” or began protesting against rampant corruption at the company would be pushed out of the company or "terminated".

The commission of inquiry into state capture heard that every contract Bosasa ever had with the state was tainted with fraud and corruption.

Agrizzi noted that Bosasa’s modus operandi was not to give corrupt officials large sums of money up front, but instead payments were made monthly.

“You don’t entrap people for life if you pay once off. They take money and go. Once you start paying bribes on a monthly basis, you control them,” Agrizzi said.

As a result, laundered money was used to pay off officials who assisted Bosasa as well as employees who knew about the corrupt scheme.

Former chief operations officer for Bosasa Angelo Agrizzi took the stand for the second time at the state capture inquiry on Thursday January 17 2019, where he detailed how bribe money was moved, stored and paid out by Bosasa.

But if employees began raising concerns, the commission heard, it would be the end of them.

"If you didn’t do what was told to you, you became a problem. You had to leave, salaries cut. You were told you were white male, you won’t find a job anywhere,” Agrizzi said.

He said once people “served their purpose” and started raising their voices, they would be terminated.

“It was very dangerous,” Agrizzi testified under oath.

He detailed how he was once called into a meeting with Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson at a popular Sandton hotel where notorious ex-cop Nkosana “Killer” Ximba was present.

Agrizzi said Ximba opened up a bag and “it was a 45 colt (gun) with a white handle and all chrome”.

Video evidence presented by Agrizzi to the commission, taken in 2017, showed how the alleged bribe money was transported, stored and counted for delivery at the Bosasa premises.

Agrizzi said that once contracts were awarded through corruption “someone had to be looked after”.

He said the safes in the eight vaults at the Bosasa premises had to be filled up weekly with laundered cash.

He said they would ask “what is the order of chicken today?” in reference to the amount of illegal money that needed to be ordered.

The money was usually fetched by Bosasa employees at public spaces like petrol garages.

When deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo asked if it was possible that despite long-standing accusations against Bosasa, contracts were not terminated because people in charge of those contracts were benefiting financially, Agrizzi agreed.

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