South Africa

Days of Zondo Newsflash

Agrizzi cross-examination postponed as investigators seek Bosasa documents

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 28: Former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture on January 28, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Agrizzi revealed how Bosasa, allegedly paid former president Jacob Zuma, through former SAA chairperson, Dudu Myeni, up to R300 000 a month in exchange for doing it bidding. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

Armscor CEO Kevin Wakeford will have to wait to grill former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi after his cross-examination was postponed at the State Capture Commission on Wednesday. Agrizzi claimed Wakeford received a tidy R100,000 for helping solve the company’s tax troubles.

Angelo Agrizzi has made some of the most startling revelations at the State Capture Commission but the wait to test the former Bosasa COO’s evidence continues after his cross-examination was postponed on Wednesday.

Armscor CEO Kevin Wakeford was due to cross-examine Agrizzi and former Bosasa manager Frans Vorster, but commission chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo agreed to postpone the matter while investigators try to access documents from Bosasa, renamed African Global Operations in 2017.

Evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius said the information “relates to factual matters of which there would be records in the Bosasa documentation.

That Bosasa documentation is at present under the control of one or other curators who are in dispute as to who the curator lawfully is. That matter will be resolved by the Supreme Court of Appeal later in November.”

Bosasa and its liquidators have been in court fighting over control of the company and the liquidators are appealing a High Court ruling putting Bosasa back in charge of its company. Pretorius said those who have access to the documents resisted a subpoena calling for their release while the leadership of the company remains in dispute.

That documentation may be relevant to either party in promotion of either party’s version of the facts,” said the evidence leader.

Wakeford’s lawyer Advocate Reg Willis suggested Agrizzi and Vorster were trying to delay their cross-examination, at great cost to Wakeford.

Wakeford took special leave from Armscor after Agrizzi implicated him in January 2019 and Willis said his employment tenure had ended in April.

He has had to forego work opportunities, employment opportunities,” said Willis.

Zondo responded, “I’m quite alive to the fact that Mr Wakeford launched his application months ago and there has been some delay in dealing with it.

But the bottom line is that we want to try as far as possible to be fair to everybody so it wouldn’t have been fair to everybody to proceed today in the circumstances which prevail.”

No date has been set for when Agrizzi and Vorster’s cross-examination will resume but Zondo said the commission would announce it soon.

In his wide-ranging testimony, Agrizzi claimed Wakeford helped Bosasa avoid SA Revenue Service investigations and continue its work running the Lindela Repatriation Centre.

Agrizzi said Wakeford was a friend of the recently deceased Bosasa boss Gavin Watson, who would consult the Armscor leader.

When Bosasa was facing a SARS investigation, Agrizzi said, Watson roped in Wakeford to help. Wakeford allegedly brought in SARS consultant George Papadakis to help avoid the potentially damaging inquiry.

Wakeford was allegedly paid R100,000 for his services while Bosasa sent R600,000 worth of wet and dry cement to a property owned by Papadakis, testified Agrizzi and Vorster.

Wakeford has denied all the allegations.

Advocate Deon Pool, representing Agrizzi and Vorster, said his clients had co-operated consistently with the commission, which was “laying a scalpel into the bare essentials that undermine our democracy”.

Evidence leaders are trying to secure a witness to testify on Friday but the commission will not sit on Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday. A witness from the Free State government is due to testify about the Estina Dairy farm project on Wednesday 16 October. DM


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