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Agrizzi confirms SIU’s 2010 report on tender kickbacks at Correctional Services

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi has confirmed the Correctional Services Department was guilty of so-called fiscal dumping.

FILE: Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi testifies at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on 17 January 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Collusion in the award of four tenders to the Department of Correctional Services has been in the spotlight at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Wednesday.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi has confirmed the Correctional Services Department was guilty of so-called fiscal dumping, rapidly spending money and paying inflated prices in order to spend its budget before the end of a financial year.

Agrizzi is in the hot seat for a sixth day on Wednesday, making him the witness who’s given the longest testimony to date.

He has confirmed the findings of a 2010 investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) that points to collusion and kickbacks to ensure Bosasa was awarded tenders by the department, even though they did not meet the requirements.

The SIU was investigating the irregular awarding of tenders to the department for its catering, security systems and fencing.

Agrizzi has confirmed to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that within just four days in December 2008, over 40,000 documents on Bosasa’s computers were overwritten and then deleted.

Agrizzi says the job was handled by experts.

He says he was aware that documents were also being deleted from the computer of former chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham.

“I give full disclosure of what happened, how it happened, and the persons involved in my affidavit.”

Despite the deletion, an SIU cyber forensic expert was still able to recover a large amount of the deleted data.

Agrizzi has also testified about the manipulation of prices for a TV tender and motivations for upfront tender payments even though this goes against Treasury regulations.

“Was it genuine and correct motivation?” Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked Agrizzi.

Agrizzi replied: “No it was not. Some of it was needed to be paid up front... not all of it. Definitely not R103 million, I think it might have amounted to about R25 million... maybe R27 million.”

Agrizzi says he was involved in briefing Bosasa’s legal team to interdict the SIU report to ensure company officials were not interrogated.

At the same time, Agrizzi says the way in which tender documents were drawn up by the Correctional Services Department, made it nearly impossible for another company to compete.

Agrizzi says it was a given that Gillingham was involved in the drawing up of tender specifications, to ensure Bosasa would be the only successful tenderer.

“We raised the bar. For anybody to get into this type of business, they would have to comply with these minimum requirements. It was virtually unattainable.”

But he says despite Gillingham’s 40 years of experience in prisons, he must have had help from a nutritionist to formulate the specifications for a catering contract that were deliberately restrictive to ensure Bosasa was the only company that complied.

WATCH: Angelo Agrizzi continues testimony at Zondo Commission

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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