Armscor has had no contracts with the Bosasa Group since Kevin Wakeford was appointed chief executive of the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency three years ago.
This is made clear in a statement issued by him regarding his name appearing in papers submitted to the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, popularly known as the Zondo Commission after its head, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Immediately this became public knowledge last week Wakeford asked for – and was granted – special leave by the Armscor board to allow him to prepare documentation for submission to the Commission.
His statement, released by what appears to be a London-based public relations consultancy, has it that Wakeford will co-operate with the Commission and adhere to the rules inter alia relating of interacting with the media. This, the statement said, is “notwithstanding that he has not enjoyed the benefit and protection of the Commission’s rules”.
The statement makes it clear it is Wakeford and not Armscor mentioned in submissions to the Commission by whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi.
The digital publication Daily Maverick reports on Wakeford and Bosasa saying the Armscor chief executive was “described as a longstanding friend of the Watsons (one of who heads up Bosasa, renamed African Global Operations in 2017)”.
“Agrizzi says there was a stage where Bosasa was being audited by SARS, especially when negative media reports were circulating. He said Watson would consult Wakeford for help at times, adding that he (Wakeford) would sometimes accompany Agrizzi to the banks to help explain allegations away. Wakeford, Agrizzi testified, was paid a fee for this service.
“Once, while Bosasa faced a major SARS investigation, Agrizzi says they had a meeting where Wakeford allegedly said they needed to rope in George Papadakis to ‘sort out’ the SARS hassles. At the time Papadakis was a consultant to SARS.
“For this too, Agrizzi claims, Wakeford was paid. ‘A large sum every month, in the region of around R100,000’.”
According to the Wakeford statement Agrizzi’s allegations are “malicious and a gross fabrication”.
Wakeford, born and bred in Eastern Cape, has legal representation and is preparing a detailed submission for the Commission. He intends to make application to be allowed to give evidence to the Commission as well as subjecting himself to cross-examination and being able to cross examine the former Bosasa chief operating officer.
He confirms a professional relationship as “a retained consultant” to Bosasa over a period of about eight years.
“At all times I avoided conflicts of interest by disclosing my relationships. There is sufficient evidence to validate such” he said adding his advisory role covered a range of issues relating to “the political economy”.
In support of his professional and ethical approach the Wakeford statement quotes him as saying: “I have sacrificed and dedicated much of my life to integrity and ethical leadership often to the detriment of myself and my extended family. I have been ostracised and side-lined as a result of my involvement in whistleblowing activities. The Commission into the Collapse of the Rand in 2002 and my support to the former Deputy Director General of the Department of Justice, Mike Tshishonga, during his damning whistle blowing revelations in 2003 and 2004 bear testimony to this. The award winning journalist and author Barry Sergeant’s book, The Assault on the Rand is an excellent record of both these matters”.