EXCLUSIVE: Bosasa boss Gavin Watson paid a R5m bonus for job losses


Two weeks before the omission of African Global Operations (AGO), accused of corruption – formerly Bosasa – was put into liquidation, the company paid its CEO Gavin Watson a "performance bonus" of R5m – in addition to his monthly salary of R5. 7m.

The AGO board of directors ceased the company voluntary liquidation on 12 February,

In a supplemental affidavit, Cloete Murray indicates that the board has decided to pay Watson the R10m bonus on January 21, 2019.

He received the R5m in addition to his usual remuneration on January 30, 2019.

SEE: Gavin Watson avenges Bosasa staff, talks about his delicate "networks"

AGO's 4,500 employees may be facing potential unemployment, as the allegations of corruption against Watson and its co-directors have led directly to the closure of its accounts by its banks.

Watson read the text sent on Tuesday but requested his comments.

Three family members were added to the payroll

Murray's affidavit was filed for trials running in the South Gauteng Supreme Court in Johannesburg. The AGO directors made an emergency request on 4 March to lift the liquidation.

Murray challenges the petition, arguing that the directors, including Watson and AGO chairman Joe Gumede, no longer want him as a liquidator because he is investigating their affairs.

Watson added, Murray added, that three of his family members and longtime girlfriend Lindie Gouws were on AGO's payroll and allegedly received unknown amounts as "salaries".

"The clear impression arises that the appointment of [Murray] This was not anticipated by the actual protagonists of the companies concerned, and he is obviously of the opinion that he regarded his welcome as exaggerated by the fact that he had a magnifying glass on their affairs, "the affidavit states.

Murray points out in a 107-page bankruptcy report why companies are actually insolvent.

Following the termination of the company's banking facilities by FNB and ABSA, Murray argues that "the inevitable conclusion" is that companies under the AGO banner have no prospect of commercial revival.

Independence of the provisional liquidator questioned

Both banks decided to sever their relationship with AGO and its various subsidiaries after two weeks of explosive testimony before the state investigation Angelo Agrizzi, the former Chief Operations Officer of AGO.

Agrizzi revealed how the company, led by Watson, was punishing various government officials and political leaders with money in return for backing billions of rand into a series of millions of state departments.

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Murray argues in his report before the court that, for that reason, any attempt to remove him is seen in a serious light.

He also called into question the independence of his temporary liquidator, Ralph Lutchman, who was appointed following a series of motions signed by AGO Chairman Gumede.

Murray argues that there is no guarantee that Lutchman will perform the duties of a liquidator properly, bearing in mind that he was appointed by the same people he needs to investigate.

"There are disastrous aspects in the management of corporate affairs that must lead to the conclusion that liquidation proceedings are really necessary in the circumstances," Murray argues.

According to his report, the AGO achieved a gross profit of R266 million in February 2017.

Since the allegations of Agrizzi, the main turnover of the AGO – two contracts with the Department of Prison Services – has been interrupted.

Department of Correctional Services officials confirmed to Murray that none of the contracts may be revived.

The matter will continue in court on Tuesday.

Update: The application was due to be heard on Tuesday but has been postponed to Wednesday morning.