The former COO says the company knew the minister was ‘powerful’ enough to get them protection when they needed it.
Bosasa former chief operating officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday the company approached Nomvula Mokonyane because they thought she was “powerful” and needed her on their side. They said her proximity to former president Jacob Zuma ensured the company had protection at all times.
“We knew she was very close to the president at the time. Even further than that, if there were certain people that needed to be spoken to in the Hawks we knew that she would be able to do that and that is why it continued. She’s powerful and we had to get her on our side. She was like an Energizer bunny. If you needed things to be done, it would be done. If we had any issues, it would be sorted.”
#StateCaptureInquiry We are back. Agrizzi continues testimony.He first starts by clarifying that when they approached Nomvula Mokonyane, they thought she was powerful,that she was close to Zuma, says they called her “energizer Bunny”.He says they thought he could give protection
— Clement Manyathela (@TheRealClementM) January 21, 2019
— Amil Umraw (@Amil_Umraw) January 21, 2019
Earlier Agrizzi told the commission that for years Bosasa paid Mokonyane R50,000. The company’s CEO, Gavin Watson, “would take money with him to see the minister”.
He said he packed the money which Watson “often would deliver in front of me”.
Agrizzi said the R50,000 was given to Mokonyane over a few occasions, adding that he could not recall the period of time but it was a long time over the years, which he said: “Never, ever stopped.”
Agrizzi said Watson was meeting Mokonyane a lot at the time, adding that the payments continued to be made to Mokonyane even after he left the company in 2016.
He said he came to know of the payments when he started packing the money around 2009.
“Chair, it was monthly, I wouldn’t deliver it, Mr Watson would deliver it because he used that time to talk about the politics of the day,” Agrizzi told the commission.
Agrizzi testified that among other many “ridiculous requests” received which he was expected to look after, even in the middle of the night, was one from his CEO, Gavin Watson, asking him to go Christmas shopping for then Gauteng MEC for safety and security Nomvula Mokonyane.
Agrizzi said he was asked to provide the minister with 120 cases of cold drinks, four cases of premium whisky, and 40 cases of mixed beer, among other things.
According to him, this was one of many similar requests for other important people, which he was expected to “personally attend” to.
The former COO also claimed that Bosasa funded food parcels on Mokonyane’s request for ANC rallies, as well as doing maintenance work, including a security upgrade, at Mokonyane’s house in 2002.