Former PE businessman named as Bosasa ‘beneficiary’

Former PE businessman Kevin Wakeford, named as a Bosasa beneficiary
Former PE businessman Kevin Wakeford, named as a Bosasa beneficiary
Image: Supplied

Former Port Elizabeth businessman Kevin Wakeford, the CEO of state-owned arms procurement agency Armscor, has been granted special leave after allegations emerged against him at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

The commission has been hearing testimony by former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, who has laid bare how the controversial facilities company allegedly lined the pockets of ANC heavyweights and state officials in exchange for furthering its business interests with the government.

Wakeford has allegedly been implicated in Agrizzi’s affidavit to the commission.

“In the light of the latest media developments where the CEO of Armscor, Mr Kevin Wakeford’s name was mentioned in the list of individuals who are said to have benefited from the Bosasa group and subsequent confirmation with the commission of inquiry into state capture, the CEO has requested special leave,” Armscor said in a statement.

“Armscor can confirm that the organisation has not done any work and has no known commercial contract with the Bosasa Group, now called African Global Corporations.

The board has since granted Mr Wakeford special leave as per his request
Armscor statement

“The board of Armscor has since granted Mr Wakeford

special leave as per his request until further notice.

“This is to allow him time to prepare his evidence for the commission.”

Agrizzi pulled no punches when he testified on Monday, implicating ministers, former and current ANC members of parliament, and officials working in various departments.

He began with environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

Bosasa’s allegedly corrupt relationship with Mokonyane was so close that she is said to have insisted that the company foot the bill for ANC rallies, birthday celebrations, funeral services and even a rental car for her daughter.

Agrizzi told the commission that Bosasa paid for at least a dozen ANC events, including the party’s Siyanqoba rallies which are held before elections.

Agrizzi also described how he had allegedly been given a list of Christmas groceries to buy for Mokonyane every year since 2002.

These included cases of expensive alcohol and packs of meat.

The company also paid for repairs to her Roodepoort home and hired a car for her daughter, he alleged.

But to secure its contracts with the government, Bosasa had to bribe state officials, mostly in the department of correctional services and department of justice and constitutional development.

Agrizzi said the company employed the services of Sesinyi Seopela, who once served as former ANC Youth League president Peter Mokaba’s bodyguard, to facilitate the payments to government officials and pass on vital information on contracts.

He alleged he had given Seopela up to R500,000 a month between 2008 and 2016 to pay officials at correctional services, where the bulk of Bosasa’s contracts came from.

This amount had increased to R750,000 after Tom Moyane was appointed as the department’s national commissioner.

Agrizzi also admitted that Bosasa, through Seopela, allegedly bribed officials at the department of justice and constitutional development with R15m.

He said he was present in a meeting where four officials from the department were paid to secure a contract for one of Bosasa’s companies, Sondolo IT.

The last element of Bosasa’s corruption seems to have focused on parliament.

Agrizzi admitted to allegedly bribing ANC MP Vincent Smith, and other MPs, with up to R100,000 a month.

According to his testimony, he had met Smith, along with then MPs Vuselelo Magagula and Winnie Ngwenya, in 2011 at a hotel in Rivonia Road, Johannesburg.

All three were part of the portfolio committee on correctional services at the time.

“Smith alluded to us in the meeting and spoke as though he had formed a relationship with [Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson] at a prior meeting,” Agrizzi said.

“What was agreed at that meeting was that despite the negative press publicity and despite issues raised in the press that were in essence against Bosasa, the parliamentary committee would keep quiet on it and would make sure they could manage it so it wouldn’t stop Bosasa from getting any new business.”

He alleged that Bosasa paid Smith R45,000 a month, Magagula R30,000 and Ngwenya R20,000. Smith’s monthly bribe was said to have increased to R100,000 in 2016, he said.

Agrizzi also detailed how, after a crime occurred at Smith’s home, Bosasa installed security upgrades, including cameras, an alarm system and improved fencing.

Smith is said to have also requested Bosasa to pay for his daughter’s university fees.

In one transaction, Agrizzi said Bosasa had paid about R276,000 to a British university in 2016 for Smith’s daughter’s tuition fees.

The money was allegedly paid to Smith’s company, EuroBlitz.

Smith asked in 2018 to be removed as chair of parliament’s constitutional review committee until a probe into allegations that he had received large sums of money from Bosasa was finalised.

In a statement at the time‚ Smith said he had entered into an agreement for a personal loan with Agrizzi.

But Agrizzi denied this. Agrizzi’s testimony continues. –