Angelo Agrizzi’s big Bosasa corruption bill: Liquidators seek R91m
08 Jun 2020

Former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi has been slapped with letter of demand for R91 million by the team of liquidators managing the winding up of the corruption-accused Bosasa group.

In a stunning change of fortune for the self-proclaimed whistleblower, Agrizzi now become the first of the Bosasa dons to face major financial repercussions as a result of nearly two decades of alleged grand corruption perpetrated by the Krugersdorp-based facilities management and security company.

The late Gavin Watson, who died in a mysterious motor vehicle accident in August last year, was alleged to have bribed, or caused bribes to be paid, to dozens of government officials over several years to secure upward of R12 billion in state contracts, the first of which, a lucrative correctional services contract, was awarded in 2004.

On Saturday, Agrizzi, described as Watson’s right-hand man, in a response through his attorney, Daniel Witz, said he disputed all the facts relied on by the liquidators – and registered his disappointment and surprise that evidence and findings of the liquidation enquiry – a secret process – had been leaked.

Former chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, who together with Agrizzi turned on Watson and gave evidence before the Zondo commission into state capture last year, has also been hit with a letter of demand for R21 million.

Witz also responded on his behalf.

The pair’s testimony focused on the deeds of Watson, and painted him as the kingpin, but glossed over the intricate details of their own financial gain.

According to the letters of demand seen by News24, both men have 10 days to pay the amounts into a trust account held by MacRobert Attorneys – the law firm used by the liquidators – or face legal action seeking to recoup funds deemed to have been paid to them unlawfully from Bosasa coffers.

“Our clients have given their full co-operation to the [liquidation] enquiry,” Witz said.

“Even prior to the enquiry being conducted our clients had a meeting with the appointed liquidators to tender their co-operation as they have done with all the forums that have asked for their cooperation.

“All of the allegations are in fact disputed. We do not wish to deal with the allegations at this stage as our clients intend to abide and keep to the strict confidentiality of the enquiry.”

He added he had written to the liquidators and their attorneys demanding an investigation be conducted into the leak of the information surrounding the letters of demand.

“Save for disputing the allegations, any further comments will be dealt with in the appropriate forums,” Witz said.

The process of recovering funds deemed impeachable is a key function of liquidation proceedings and any funds recouped through processes such as those launched against Agrizzi and Van Tonder are destined to be utilised to pay the Bosasa’s groups creditors.

According to court papers filed by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), it was the single largest creditor, having raised initial assessments totalling R849 million.

In the court papers, SARS said further assessments were in the process of being raised. The assessments flowed from a tax enquiry that was chaired by advocate Piet Marais.

Agrizzi and Van Tonder testified before the tax enquiry. The letters of demand, meanwhile, flow from a secret liquidation enquiry chaired by retired judge Meyer Joffe before which both men also appeared.

How the money flowed and flowed to Agrizzi

According to the letters, money started flowing to Agrizzi, and Van Tonder, from Bosasa’s coffers in 2009 and continued to flow until 2018.

The funds were paid to Agrizzi over a number of years through a series of front companies that were set up and used as conduits to disguise the fact the payments were actually from Bosasa which was renamed African Global Operations in 2017.

By Kyle Cowan, News24, 7 June 2020

Photo: Chris Eason / CC-BY-2.0

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