Zondo report: Agrizzi wants action against Mti, pleads for protection of whistleblowers

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi says whistleblowers should be protected Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi says whistleblowers should be protected Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, who blew the whistle on allegations of corruption at the Zondo commission, wants to see action taken against those implicated – including former prisons boss Linda Mti.While the third report released this week by commission chairperson Acting Chief Justice Judge Raymond Zondo recommended that criminal charges should be pursued against the former department of correctional services commissioner Mti, Agrizzi told City Press on Wednesday that President Cyril Ramaphosa needed to protect whistleblowers.

Ramaphosa made the report public on Tuesday.

The report covered the findings and recommendations relating to the corrupt relationship between Bosasa, the company’s former boss Gavin Watson and Mti, among others.

READ: Zondo recommends Mantashe be probed for corruption

It also recommended that further investigations should be pursued with possible charges of corruption against former president Jacob Zuma and current and former ministers including Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane.

Agrizzi said his testimony had been overwhelmingly confirmed by the commission’s findings and criminal prosecutions should now follow against the very long list of politicians and business people that he named and implicated with factual evidence.

“Judge Zondo has also confirmed that a ruthless strategy of retaliation was waged against me, to try to kill me. Those threats will not deter me.” Agrizzi said:

There are many other enablers that need to be booked and there are many other potential whistleblowers who can provide the evidence to do that. However, that will not happen for as long as whistleblowers continue to experience retaliation.

He said the way whistleblowers were being treated was despicable.

“I simply wish to add my voice to plead with President Ramaphosa to act now to protect them. My chronic state of physical health at present does not allow me to participate further in the public discussion on the report at this stage. My books provide an ample, in-depth narrative on the ordeal and I would urge the media to allow me to heal and rather pursue the people I have named and implicated, to explain themselves.”

He said he had suffered enough but was comforted in the knowledge that history would now record that the capture of the state by the Gupta brothers was enabled by the prior capture of the ANC and its deployment structures by Watson.

“It [state capture] was occurring on an industrial scale long before the Gupta brothers arrived on the scene. I participated in that corrupting ‘industrialisation’ process and am deeply remorseful about the role I played and profoundly regret not blowing the whistle when I first became aware of the wrongdoing. I have explained why in-depth. I am now resolved to continue to assist wherever I can to throw off the graveclothes of state capture, by allowing the liberating power of honesty, truth and justice to take new root,” Agrizzi said.

Mti’s conduct

In part, the report said there were already pending charges against Mti of corruption, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The report reads:

The matter is nonetheless referred to the relevant authorities for investigation and prosecution, to the extent that the existing charges do not cover any of the conduct on the part of Mr Mti set out in this report.

The probabilities were strong that Mti was complicit with department of correctional service’s former COO Patrick Gillingham for facilitating the unlawful awarding of tenders, the report noted.

“This complicity included providing Gillingham with protection from investigation, discipline and prosecution, at the highest level with the department. Mti facilitated the unlawful awarding of tenders in breach of the Constitution and legislation in order to benefit himself, his family, Bosasa, its associates and the Watson family.”

Mti told City Press on Wednesday that he had not seen

the Zondo report.

“Besides, I have no intention of responding to Agrizzi’s allegations in the media. If I wanted to respond to Agrizzi’s allegations I would have gone to the Zondo commission but I chose not to as the National Prosecuting Authority and the police had chosen to lay charges on those allegation … I have no intention of responding to the media or any one else on the matter besides the courts of the land. If Zondo prefers to be a state witness he is welcome to bring his own allegations to our courts,” Mti said.

The evidence against Mti

The evidence included that:

  • Cash payments were made to Mti in exchange for his facilitation of the unlawful awarding of tenders to Bosasa.
  • Mti was provided with funds to purchase luxury clothes. The report said Agrizzi’s evidence on the amounts paid to Mti and the type of goods purchased for Mti was not superficial and the level of detail provided presented a compelling basis for establishing that Mti received these benefits.
  • Bosasa paid for the furnishing of Mti’s house through the Taverners’ company.
  • Security upgrades at Mti’s home were paid for by Bosasa. The report said this evidence was corroborated by Bosasa contractor Richard le Roux in his affidavit. “Mr le Roux produced invoices for work done at Mr Mti’s homes in Greenbushes plot and Colchester in Port Elizabeth. The updated estimated cost of this project was R417 980.19. This comprised equipment, accommodation, labour and vehicle travel,” the report reads in part.
  • Bosasa employee Frans Vorster’s evidence regarding the purchase of a Volkswagen Touareg V8 for Mti showed that it coincided with the awarding of the access control contract (in April 2005) and the fencing contract (November 2005) to Bosasa. “An inference can therefore reasonably be drawn that the vehicle was intended to be a quid pro quo for Mr Mti’s facilitation of the securing of these contracts,” the report reads.
  • Agrizzi testified that Mti facilitated the awarding of the 2010 Fifa World Cup security plan to Sondolo IT following his receipt of his monthly R65 000 cash payment from Watson.
  • Agrizzi also testified that holiday and education costs of Mti’s children and the fee for a security guard outside his residence were paid for by Bosasa.

Criminal charges

The report said the Special Investigating Unit found that Mti received benefits following the awarding of the four tenders by the department of correctional services relating to the kitchens/catering, access control, fencing and TV contracts and the extension of the catering contract.

“Apart from the other evidence of facilitation, on the basis of the inducements paid and gains provided to Mr Mti, the inference may be drawn that Mr Mti facilitated the unlawful awards and the unlawful extension of the catering contract.

READ: Nomvula Mokonyane lied and should be prosecuted for corruption – Zondo

“It would be most improbable that Bosasa and its officials would continue to lavish Mr Mti with payments and other substantial material benefits at considerable expense, if he was not facilitating the award of the tenders that formed a substantial part of Bosasa’s business,” the report reads.

The report said there was undisputed evidence that Mti breached the Constitution and the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act by facilitating the unlawful awarding of tenders by the department to benefit his own family, the Watson family, Bosasa and its associated businesses.

“Mr Mti’s failure to comply with section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act also amounts to a prima facie case of a criminal offence under section 86 of the Act. It can also be inferred from the evidence that Mr Mti was aware of the conduct of Mr Gillingham. Mr Mti also failed to manage the investigation and correction of financial misconduct in the department as required in terms of regulations 4.1 of the National Treasury,” the report reads.