Bosasa, Watson offered Agrizzi between R50m and R80m to keep quiet – reports

2019-01-27 10:13
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture. (Alaister Russell, Gallo Images)

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture. (Alaister Russell, Gallo Images)

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Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson offered his former colleague-turned-whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi tens of millions in a "hush money deal", to prevent him from speaking out about the company's alleged corruption, according to reports.

The Sunday Times and City Press reported that the proposal involved paying Agrizzi a R250 000 per month "consultancy" fee, and the establishment of a new company which would receive R10m per year for six years. A R5m "good faith" payment would reportedly be made to Agrizzi, too.

Agrizzi has spent the past week giving sensational testimony to the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, about how Bosasa allegedly paid millions of bribes to top government officials in exchange for contracts.

According to the reports, Watson made the offer to Agrizzi after Agrizzi told certain journalists that he intended to expose Bosasa's alleged wrongdoing. The proposed agreement would reportedly have involved Agrizzi retracting this undertaking.

Agrizzi reportedly said Bosasa and Watson had made several attempts to lure him back to the company after his resignation, offering him millions of rands.

READ: Bosasa's fishy prawn farm flop

Text messages also reportedly reveal the extent of the breakdown in the relationship between Watson and Agrizzi. They also reportedly show the extent of the pressure put on Agrizzi by the Watson family to sign the agreement.

Agrizzi reportedly replied that he did not want to be involved with the kind of people with which the Watsons associated, saying the issue was now "too dirty", and that "Christ" would not want him to associate with them.

The agreement is reportedly contained in an email from Bosasa lawyer Brian Biebuyck to Agrizzi in September last year. It would also have involved establishing a committee which would mediate future disagreements between Watson and Agrizzi.

Biebuyck reportedly said the agreement was the result of "settlement negotiations" between Agrizzi and the company, after Agrizzi reportedly tried to "take over" Bosasa. Biebuyck reportedly denied that any "hush money" was involved.

Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leshabane reportedly said the proposal did not come from the company or Watson, and that they had no knowledge of the legitimacy of it.

Read more on:    gavin watson  |  angelo agrizzi  |  bosasa  |  state capture
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