South African Whistle-Blower Tainted by Racist Slur

(Bloomberg) -- A former Bosasa executive who’s been testifying how the South African services company paid millions of rand in bribes to secure state contracts used a racist slur to refer to two black colleagues, undermining attempts to portray himself as a whistle-blower who had the nation’s best interests at heart.

Angelo Agrizzi, who quit as Bosasa’s chief operating officer in 2016, told a judicial commission he used the derogatory term during a meeting at his house because he had been threatened and was under extreme pressure.

South African Whistle-Blower Tainted by Racist Slur

An edited tape of the meeting was leaked on social media in an attempt by the main shareholders of the company, since renamed African Global Operations, to discredit him after it emerged that he intended coming clean about its illicit dealing, Agrizzi said. He apologized for the remarks.

The panel, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was set up to probe the theft of taxpayer funds during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure. While Zondo said Agrizzi’s comments were deeply offensive and unacceptable, they would not deter him from considering his evidence.

Agrizzi has implicated several top African National Congress officials in alleged graft during the inquiry, including Zuma and Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

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