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Zondo Inquiry hears how Watson planned to rope in Zuma

The audio of a meeting was recorded by former executive Angelo Agrizzi, who is currently testifying before the commission.

FILE: Former ANC President Jacob Zuma on 18 December 2017. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The Zondo Commission of Inquiry has heard explosive evidence of Bosasa chief Gavin Watson purportedly plotting on how to involve former President Jacob Zuma in shutting down a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigation into his company.

The audio of a meeting was recorded by former executive Angelo Agrizzi who is currently testifying before the commission.

In the recording, the man identified as Watson is role-playing before Agrizzi and former prisons head Linda Mti, whom Agrizzi says helped Bosasa get confidential documents from the NPA.

Watson can be heard saying he can influence the former president to shut down a pending legal challenge against Bosasa.

“Jiba and others have been buggered up. So how do you protect them, Mr president? By putting the right person in there. I don’t know who that is, Mr president. But you need to make the right decision. You don’t have much time to go.”

In 2013, racketeering charges were being contemplated against Bosasa officials, including Agrizzi.

On Thursday morning, Agrizzi told the inquiry that top prosecutors Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi and another official in Jiba’s office, Jackie Lepinka, were on Bosasa’s payroll to provide information on their investigations.

Agrizzi says the company, via its sources, got legal advice from the NPA on how to shut down investigations. The NPA was handed a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report in 2009 that dealt with dodgy tenders at Correctional Services, but it was only in 2013 that it appeared in a position to prosecute some individuals, including Agrizzi.

Agrizzi says through Mti, the NPA gave Bosasa tips on how to challenge pending racketeering charges against himself and others implicated in the SIU report.

“I was told categorically that this advice emanates from the meeting which he had with Jiba.”

He says Jiba allegedly advised Bosasa to challenge the legality of the SIU report because it was not handed to the president first, as required by law.

“They made a big song and dance about the impact on families, lost business and that it was a political issue.”

Agrizzi says he took this advice to Bosasa lawyers to draw up a document that Mti allegedly took to the NPA to check that the tips had been followed properly.

SARS PROBE

Meanwhile, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) says it's concerned about allegations of tax evasion emerging at the state capture commission of inquiry.

The commission has been hearing damning testimony Agrizzi, who has revealed how politicians were paid kickbacks by the company to secure tenders.

Sars says it's also disturbed that former employees have been implicated in wrongdoing.

The revenue service's Vuyo Mlenzana says the claims are being investigated.

“Whether we deal with them as former employees or citizens, we take into consideration that something wrong has been done. We will have to take the necessary steps there.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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