Evidence presented at state capture inquiry shows former president Jacob Zuma accepted unjustified gratuity from party who benefited from state contracts and hoped to benefit more, chief justice says Acting Raymond Zondo in Part 3 of his state capture investigation report, which focused exclusively on corruption allegations against the late Gavin Watson’s company, Bosasa.
In his most significant findings against Zuma to date, Zondo said there was a reasonable possibility that the former president committed violations of the Preventing and Combating Corruption Act (Precca). He recommended that law enforcement authorities pursue the matter.
In his 942-page report, Zondo detailed how Bosasa was inherently corrupt and said there were prima facie cases of corruption against Zuma, ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe and former minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who all received benefits from the company that obtained at least R2. 37 billion in public contracts between 2000 and 2016.
“Mr. Zuma is the highest official Bosasa would have tried to influence,” Zondo said while explaining how the former president refused to provide his version of events and was eventually jailed after defying a court order. constitutionality regarding his testimony.
Zondo relied in part on the extensive testimony of former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, but also noted Agrizzi’s contradictory statements and exaggerations. Agrizzi claimed that Bosasa paid the Jacob Zuma Foundation R300,000 a month through Dudu Myeni, a close Zuma ally and former SAA chairman, and that Bosasa paid for Zuma’s lavish birthday parties.
“Even if the evidence of the payments of R300,000 were to be ignored, there is clear and convincing non-hearsay evidence, confirmed by Ms Myeni, that Mr Zuma benefited from lavish spending by Bosasa for his birthday duties “, reads the report.
Zondo said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr. Zuma’s conduct was in violation of his obligations as President under the Constitution, in violation of his obligations under the the executive and in violation of the law.Given the nature of the relationship between Mr. Zuma and Bosasa, as revealed by the evidence, Mr. Zuma placed himself in a situation of conflict of interest. »
“Bosasa and its leaders clearly provided incentives and gains to Mr. Zuma, with the aim of gaining influence over him.”
There was no evidence directly linking Zuma to the Bosasa government’s illegal award of contracts, but Zondo said it was likely he played a role in Watson’s attempts to obtain confidential information from the SIU, the Hawks and the NPA on investigations into the company, all of which failed during his presidency.
Agrizzi testified that all of Bosasa’s contracts were at some point tied to kickbacks. Watson had extensive relationships with politicians and government officials and Bosasa is estimated to have paid at least R75.7 million in bribes between 2000 and 2016.
The company would add 2.5% to its contract prices to pay bribes while taking 35-40% gross profit. Agrizzi estimated that Bosasa paid monthly bribes to at least 80 people.
“Evidence revealed that bribery was Bosasa’s way of doing business. He extensively bribed politicians, government officials, President Jacob Zuma and others. Bosasa and its directors and other officials simply had no shame in engaging in acts of corruption,” reads the introduction to Zondo’s report.
It described security upgrades the company had paid for Mantashe’s homes in Elliot and Cala, Eastern Cape, and Boksburg, Gauteng, while Mantashe was general secretary of the ANC.
Mantashe admitted he hadn’t paid for the upgrades, but he disputed that they were related to potential wrongdoing. He claimed he was just a “general secretary of an NGO called the ANC” with little influence over government decisions or state contracts.
“The provision of free security facilities was clearly part of the corruption modus operandi of Bosasa and its directors,” Zondo said.
“[Bosasa] sought to be able, through Mr. Mantashe and the inducements and gains provided to him, to influence the direction of these departments and organs of the State, a direction drawn almost exclusively from the ranks of the ANC and falling within the categories of public office holders. ”
Zondo said there was no evidence that any contracts were awarded due to Mantashe’s direct interference, but that there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr. Mantashe accepted or agreed to accept a gratuity” from a company that wanted state business and that further investigations had a reasonable. the prospect of making prima facie findings of corruption against the national president of the ANC.
The report concluded that “the preponderance of evidence overwhelmingly establishes that Bosasa, its directors and certain of the employees […] have been involved on an industrial scale in attempts to influence, by inducement or gain, members of the national executive and members of the bureau and officials of, or employed by, institutions and bodies of the State.
“This includes attempts to exert such influence, by way of inducement or gain, through Mr Mantashe, as General Secretary of the ANC, and the ANC as an organization it -same.”
Mokonyane, a former minister and former head of ANC election campaigns, was accused by Agrizzi of taking 50,000 rand a month from Bosasa. He also said the company paid for his lavish 40th birthday party and regularly provided food baskets and alcohol donations.
“Ms. Mokonyane’s denial that Bosasa paid her R50,000 a month, or, at least three times of which Mr. Aggrizzi said he had personal knowledge, is not credible and must be dismissed as a lie,” Zondo said.
The company also reportedly improved the security of his home and paid for a rental car for Mokonyane’s daughter. Regarding the latter, Zondo said it was “one of many forms of inducement and gain provided to Ms. Mokonyane and her family in order to buy Ms. Mokonyane’s influence.”
Bosasa established and financed the ANC’s “war rooms” prior to the party’s Mangaung Conference in 2012 and in the run-up to the 2014 national and provincial elections and the 2016 local elections. The company provided venues, telephone lines and Internet access to party volunteers. Bosasa paid millions for the war rooms and the ANC benefited at no cost.
“President Ramaphosa acknowledged Bosasa’s assistance to the ANC and that vigilant members of the ANC might have been aware that Bosasa was assisting the ANC through donations and benefits in circumstances where he there was a concern about the criminal elements of his conduct,” Zondo said. .
The acting chief justice appeared to take Ramaphosa at his word when he said he had no knowledge of the allegedly corrupt advantage his party had received from Bosasa.
Zondo mentioned, but did not focus, on Watson’s donation to Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC election campaign, dubbed CR17. Zondo said Ramaphosa’s ANC fundraising campaign was the subject of a Public Protector report and ongoing litigation. He noted Ramaphosa’s son Andile’s business ties to the company, but made no adverse findings against him.
While Ramaphosa got off lightly — Zondo cited the president’s hope that the Political Party Financing Act will avoid a repeat of Bosasa — the ANC has repeatedly been linked to Watson’s corrupt agenda.
Zondo detailed how ANC MP Cedric Frolick, who had ties to the Watson brothers since the 1980s, apparently helped convince fellow MP Vincent Smith to change his stance on Bosasa while he was on the committee of Parliamentary Corrections. Smith has since been accused of receiving payments from the company. DM