This article first appeared in Accounting Weekly.
Suffering from corruption fatigue yet? You better get used to it, because it looks like the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture is just getting started.
This week the commission heard from Angelo Agrizzi (pictured), a former executive with Bosasa and, boy, did he name names.
Bosasa (now called African Global Group) paid R50,000 a month to Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, as well as truck loads of whiskey and liquor. The good people at Bosasa also paid money for funerals for Mokonyane’s family members. Mokonyane, now environment minister, has called the bribery claims “preposterous”.
Agrizzi said no financial benefit was received by the company as a result of these bribes. When he raised this point with his boss Gavin Watson, he was told: “You are in Africa, do as in Africa.” The Watsons, for those too young to know, were treated as heroes in the apartheid years for refusing to play rugby in racially segregated teams. They clearly capitalised on their fame when the ANC got into power.
Who else is alleged to have received money?
R500,000 a month went to officials at the Department of Justice and Correctional Services. This increased to R750,000 a month when former SA Revenue Services (Sars) head Tom Moyane was head of correctional services. (Bosasa supplies food and other services to prisons).
Vincent Smith, ANC MP and co-chair of the constitutional review committee looking at the issue of land expropriation, was paid R100,000 a month.
The former CFO of the Department of Correctional Services, Patrick Gillingham, as also on the payroll.
Agrizzi testified that former President Jacob Zuma was paid R300,000; former SAA chair Dudu Myeni received a designer bag stuffed with money.
It was also claimed that former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) bosses Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi were also apparently bribed.
Let’s bear in mind these are untested accusations at this point so the presumption of innocence must be respected. But what a list of names Agrizzi provided. This is starting to show how potentially rotten HMS South Africa has become.
From Corruption Watch:
Among the public entities with senior managers on Bosasa’s payroll, were the South African Post Office (Sapo) and the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa). Former Sapo CEO Maanda Manyatshe, said Agrizzi, received gifts from himself and then Bosasa head of security Joe Gumede, following a trip the pair had taken to Dubai on business. Sapo’s head of security at the time, Siviwe Mapisa – the brother of the current minister of defence Nosiziviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – also received gifts following the trip. Bosasa, Agrizzi said, had obtained a security tender from Sapo through which they serviced several of their outlets, some of which operated as pension paypoints. Although he would not be drawn to say for sure if Manyatshe was influential in the process through which Bosasa obtained the contract, he was aware of the numerous occasions on which Manyatshe would receive gifts from Bosasa.
Even before the company became known as Bosasa, it had already become involved in dodgy practices. Agrizzi told the inquiry that Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) general secretary Simon Mofokeng would receive groceries valued at about R15 000 monthly from the company, then known as Dyambu. This was for his role in a tender the company had bid for, and won, with Sasol’s mining division. Agrizzi had gone to meet a procurement official at Sasol, on the instruction of Watson, soon after he joined the company in 1999. The purpose of the meeting, which seemed pre-arranged, was for Dyambu to be given an opportunity to rectify costing errors in the tender documentation it had submitted to Sasol. The new costing figures had been provided by Mofokeng. The tender was for catering services at a Sasol mining facility. With the corrected figures incorporated, Dyambu won the tender, despite the meeting having happened after the closing date.
“The official was visibly irritated, because they were only doing this because of orders from above,” Agrizzi said. As for Ceppwawu, it was singled out because it was the union with influence at Sasol at the time. Standard practice for Dyambu was to identify a union leader who would mobilise members to destabilise operations at a facility, while demanding the services of a particular service provider (in this case Dyambu), and therefore strong-arming the employer into submission.