Bosasa: On Jacob Zuma, a Louis Vuitton bag and paid journalists
28 January 2019
The state capture caravan continued to trek into the wilderness of grand corruption on Monday, with former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi testifying at the Zondo commission of inquiry about journalists on the company's payroll and how Dudu Myeni, a close friend of former president Jacob Zuma, was roped in. This is what emerged on day eight of Agrizzi's testimony: Gavin Watson, the Bosasa supremo, was worried that Myeni was not delivering all of the money meant for Zuma's foundation and asked him about it directly. Zuma responded "yes" when Watson asked him whether the money was received, saying he did get monthly payments from Myeni.
At the meeting between Watson and Zuma, the Bosasa CEO put a bag full of money next to the president.
After testifying last week that Bosasa paid journalists to write positive stories about the company as well as provide them with information, he named Pinky Khoabane, a former columnist for the Sunday Times, one "Bongs" who was a journalist in the Eastern Cape and "Ntuli", who used to work for The Star or the Sunday Times.
Bosasa also had Stephen Laufer and Benedicta Dube on its payroll. They worked as media consultants.
Dube was paid to intimidate and harass journalists, including Adriaan Basson and Carien du Plessis, who exposed the Bosasa network and related corruption. The company actively tried to discredit and link them to "the Stellenbosch people", Agrizzi testified.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has called on the investigating team to provide the commission with a full list of all government contracts with Bosasa, past and present.
Watson was "quite open" about the fact that he paid Myeni R300 000 monthly.
Myeni, a close friend of Zuma, a former chairperson of the SAA board and chairperson of Zuma's foundation, was important to Bosasa, Agrizzi testified. She had influence in government and could "swing deals".
Agrizzi saw a Louis Vuitton handbag stuffed with R300 000 for her at Bosasa's offices. This handbag was delivered to Myeni, who thanked Agrizzi for it. "She was over the moon," he told Zondo.