Ex-COO officer for BOSASA, Angelo Agrizzi is sparing no blows in his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry. Revealing alleged corruption at the controversial company, Agrizzi told the inquiry what his role had been at the company.
Angelo Agrizzi appeared before the state capture inquiry today to give his testimony on the alleged corruption at the company.
Working under BOSASA CEO Gavin Watson, Agrizzi reveals how top officials at the company would grease the palms of government employees in order to secure lucrative tenders.
Briefly.co.za explores the highlights from his statement:
Those who ‘knew too much’ would be ‘terminated’
Agrizzi claims that staff members who ‘knew too much’ or began resisting corruption at the company would either be pushed out of the company or ‘terminated’.
The commission heard today that every contract the company has ever had with the state was tainted with fraud and corruption.
‘It was very dangerous’ Agrizzi testified.
He said once people “served their purpose” and started raising their voices, they would be terminated.
Agrizzi details how he had been called into a meeting with CEO Gavin Watson at a hotel where Nkosana Ximba, an infamous former police officer, had been present.
The ex-COO described how Ximba had opened up a bag and ‘it was a 45 colt (gun) with a white handle and all chrome’.
Agrizzi admitted that he too had received bribes to look the other way, saying that:
“The money was never recorded in the books, it was paid to keep me happy and buy loyalty, it made me feel important and got caught up in the cult. Bribery is a trap because you raise your standard of living when you get it and that’s the whole monopoly idea. As soon as you start complaining about it, it gets taken away. They paid people bribes on a monthly basis to control them.”
The former COO officer noted that the company’s modus operandi was not to bribe corrupt officials with large quantities of money but in monthly payments.
“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,”
As a result of this, money that had been laundered was used to pay off officials who smoothed the was for BOSASA, as well as employees who were aware of the corruption.
If the employees at BOSASA began to voice their concerns, 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,”
‘What is the order of chicken today?’
Videographic evidence, presented by Agrizzi to the inquiry, had been taken in 2017 showing how the money, allegedly used for bribes, was transported, stored and counted for delivery.
Agrizzi revealed the safes in the 8 vaults at the BOSASA premises needed to be filled up weekly with laundered funds.
He spoke about how they would ask ‘what is the order of chicken today?’ to determine how much illicit cash needed to be ordered.
The money was then retrieved by employees in public spaces like petrol garages.
The hefty price tag on politicians
The illicit cash was then used to bribe government officials. Agrizzi claims that BOSASA would pay more than R4 million a month to bribe politicians in exchange for tenders.
Briefly.co.za reported earlier that Agrizzi had told the commission of inquiry how BOSASA had bribed their way into securing tenders with state-owned entities such as ACSA( Airports Company South Africa) as well as the South African Post Office ( SAPO).
According to Agrizzi, it was an easy thing to bribe someone:
“I wanted to show the Commission and the whole country how easy it is to bribe people. We were told we were white males and that we would not get jobs anywhere. We lived in a dangerous world and if you knew too much, you would get disposed of. I already had it in mind that I wanted to share the video.”
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