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Agrizzi testimony on Dudu Myeni corroborated by Zondo investigators

Commission finds that R300,000 was allegedly paid to Myeni each month

01 March 2022 - 22:46
Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni enjoyed former president Jacob Zuma’s protection, according to the Zondo commission report. File photo.
Former SAA chair Dudu Myeni enjoyed former president Jacob Zuma’s protection, according to the Zondo commission report. File photo.
Image: Raymond Preston

The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture has been able to corroborate some of the evidence that was presented to it by Bosasa whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi.

This is contained in the third part of the state capture report, which was handed over to the director-general in the presidency Phindile Baleni by commission secretary Prof Itumeleng Mosala on Tuesday evening.

According to the report, the commission was able to retrieve pictures from Agrizzi’s phone that were able to place former SAA board chair and close confidante of former president Jacob Zuma, Dudu Myeni, at several meetings that took place.

“When Mr Agrizzi had completed his evidence, he voluntarily handed over his iPhone and in his presence members of the commission's digital forensic team continued an examination of the iPhone upon which they found the photographs as originally recorded.

"Upon examination of the metadata, it was revealed that the photographs on Agrizzi's phone were taken on 23 September 2015. The longitude and latitude co-ordinates of the location of the photograph is within the vicinity of the Sheraton Hotel.”

The hotel’s general manager Pascal Foquet, in an affidavit, placed Myeni at the hotel.

The report reads: “Agrizzi's affidavit refers to one afternoon (on a date he could not recall) that Watson asked him to attend a meeting with Myeni regarding information on the Hawks investigation and discussions she had with the NPA.

“Watson prepared the R300,000 in cash. When they arrived at the Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria they were escorted to a private lounge area with stringent access control on a member's only floor which was possibly the sixth floor.

“During this meeting, Myeni indicated that she was trying to arrange that the [Hawks'] investigation be terminated. She produced a police case docket that had purportedly been obtained from the NPA and insisted that Agrizzi could not make copies.”

At the meeting, Watson requested that the matter “be put to bed and shut down” and that Myeni should speak to Zuma as the matter was urgent.

Presidency director-general Phindile Baleni received the third volume of the state capture report on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The report was presented to her by secretary of the commission, Prof Itumeleng Mosala, at the Union Buildings on Tuesday.
Presidency director-general Phindile Baleni received the third volume of the state capture report on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The report was presented to her by secretary of the commission, Prof Itumeleng Mosala, at the Union Buildings on Tuesday.
Image: Siyabulela Duda

Myeni has denied most of the allegations leveled against her and refused to comment on matters saying she feared incriminating herself.

Agrizzi testified that he was with Watson when he was introduced to Myeni between 2012 and 2013.

He told the commission that Watson spoke openly “about the fact that he paid Myeni R300,000 in cash on a monthly basis,” and that the money was intended for the Jacob G Zuma Foundation. Agrizzi suspected that Myeni, the chairperson of the foundation, paid the money to Zuma.

When asked about this Myeni told the commission that the “all funds received by the Jacob G Zuma Foundation were transferred by electronic transfer and not cash”.

The commission noted that Myeni initially refused to answer questions to the donations.

“She explained, however, that donations from Bosasa for purposes of the foundation's event for the birthday of the former president were deposited electronically to service providers for the foundation after it had indicated to Bosasa what it would like done for the event.”

Other than the Bosasa funds, she accepted that other cash deposits “might be made”.

The commission noted that Myeni tried to dodge questions posed to her, saying at one point she “stated, however, that some of the questions she was being asked were too operational as she was neither a bookkeeper nor a fundraiser”.

Myeni denied dealing with Agrizzi and receiving R300,000 from Watson. In most instances, particularly when she was quizzed about numerous cash deposit slips with a signature that resembled hers’, Myeni refused to answer questions saying she feared incriminating herself.

These included amounts of R20,000, R50,000, R80,000 and R100,000.

"Agrizzi was responsible for drawing the cash for Watson and, on occasion, assisted with packing the money. Agrizzi explained that Watson often made these payments himself and did not want to keep a record of this because he did not want to get caught out,” reads the report.

Furthermore, Agrizzi testified that he witnessed payments being delivered to Myeni on three occasions, twice by Watson and once by Mathenjwa. This Myeni denied. She also denied receiving gifts from the company.

However, the commission heard that: “At some stage, Watson requested assistance with an idea to impress Myeni. Agrizzi's wife suggested they purchase a Louis Vuitton handbag for her and arranged for its purchase.”

The commission heard that the handbag was delivered to the Bosasa offices and Watson filled it with R300,000 in cash and it was delivered to Myeni.

Although Agrizzi did not witness the handover of the bag to Myeni, he said Watson told him that Myeni was “over the moon”. Myeni also denied this.

Bosasa also paid for high-end functions for Zuma to the tune of R3.5m a year. The company also performed security upgrades to her Richards Bay home, including installing a CCTV recording system costing between R55,000 and R65,000.

The commission heard that Myeni was important to Watson as she was “able to influence Zuma”.

“[Using] Myeni's influence, Bosasa was able to demand that the formal rules regulating meetings with potential participants in the transaction not apply to it,” the commission heard.

Agrizzi also testified that there were several meetings held in Nkandla that Myeni also organised. 

“At some stage, Watson grew concerned that Zuma was not receiving the R300,000 per month paid to Myeni purportedly for the foundation. Watson therefore asked Agrizzi to pack the money so the funds could be delivered directly to Zuma,” reads the report.

The commission also heard that Myeni visited the Bosasa offices, but footage including that which showed Zuma, Myeni and police minister Bheki Cele on the premises was deleted.

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