Former Bosasa boss turned whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi has encouraged other whistleblowers to come forward and tell their stories.
“Do it, even if they arrest you – the truth will always come out. Don’t stop, work with the authorities,” Agrizzi said.
When asked by a listener how he slept at night, having been involved in large-scale corruption, Agrizzi replied: “I sleep very well, thank you. Before [testifying before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture] I didn’t, but now I do.”
Agrizzi’s marathon nine-day testimony at the commission in January revealed extensive allegations of corruption involving several government ministers – including Nomvula Mokonyane and Gwede Mantashe – as well as ANC MPs, journalists, union officials, and how Bosasa colluded with senior officials for more than a decade to cook tender documents and score lucrative contracts with the state.
‘Like an abusive relationship’
Agrizzi likened his tenure at Bosasa to “a woman in an abusive relationship”.
“You hope it gets better. But it took me years to get out of it,” Agrizzi said.
Agrizzi also described the culture at Bosasa as that of “a cult”, where prayer meetings were held and money donated to religious institutions to counter the dodgy deals that were going down.
“But when you’re in Africa, you do as the Africans do,” Agrizzi said of the bribes used to influence politicians.
Agrizzi had few kind words for former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson.
“He hasn’t been arrested because he’s very clever. He hides his name from everything.”
This why Agrizzi decided to make a video recording of Watson to “prove he was aware of everything, as his signature appears nowhere”.
Agrizzi described Watson as a narcissistic micromanager who interfered in every aspect of the business.
“He was the patriarch.”
Agrizzi said Watson was politically connected and that, through him, he had met high-ranking politicians, “from the president all the way through”.
No love for JZ
He would, however, not visit Nkandla or the Union Buildings with Watson because of his deep dislike for former president Jacob Zuma, Agrizzi said.
“Did you see what happened to the rand after he became president?” Agrizzi asked.
Alternately fielding questions from listeners and Thomas, Agrizzi said he had personally benefited from Bosasa deals and felt remorse for his involvement, which had prompted him to spill the beans.
“But I am not afraid. God has my back. I have no concerns at all.”
Agrizzi reiterated his earlier statement: “We are all corruptible, it’s just so enticing; it’s a sickness that just grows and grows.”
But, said Agrizzi, “We are going through a game-changing process in South Africa. People earlier just accepted corruption, now we are taking note of it.”
According to him, the state capture commission was doing a great job.
“[Deputy Chief Justice Raymond] Zondo takes action immediately.”
Ramaphosa’s ‘heart in right place’
He also had great praise for the current administration.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa’s heart is in the right place, and the new National Director of Public Prosecutions [Shamila Batohi] is very well-trained. They are going to make a difference.”
Speaking about his arrest earlier this month, Agrizzi said the NPA was “professional, helpful and accommodating” and “doing a great job”.
“Unfortunately, the one who gave instruction [for the arrests] messed up.”
Agrizzi, together with former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, former Bosasa senior staffer Frans Vorster, current Bosasa employee Carlos Bonifacio and former correctional services top brass Patrick Gillingham and Linda Mti were arrested and charged with numerous counts of violating the Public Finance Management Act and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
The charges stem from a decade-old Special Investigating Unit report handed over to the NPA in 2009, which found an improper and corrupt relationship existed between Bosasa, Gillingham and Mti.
They were released on R20 000 bail each and are scheduled to appear again in court on March 27.
According to Agrizzi, he is “happy with the fact that we’ve made people aware of the extent of corruption”.
“The biggest problem in South Africa is a sense of entitlement,” Agrizzi said. “It’s time that corrupt officials get locked up.”
Angelo Agrizzi will be live on @chaifm today at 12pm. You can listen in Joburg on 101.9FM or listen to the live stream at https://t.co/33HnLB5D4I Chad Thomas will be asking the hard questions. You can join in the conversation by sending your questions and comments by SMS to 34519 pic.twitter.com/8nAelKeWHD
— IRS Forensic Investigations (@FraudWatchZA) February 25, 2019