#Bosasa begins legal fight for liquidation reversal
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Johannesburg - Controversial facilities management company Bosasa is today heading to the South Gauteng High Court where it will argue for the reversal of its own decision to enter into liquidation.
Bosasa, which operates as African Global Operations (AGO), had last month filed for voluntary liquidation following the closure of its bank accounts.
The decision followed explosive allegations of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and bribery made by former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture earlier this year, which he said involved top ANC politicians and government officials in a bid to win state contracts and get political protection.
Last month, the company’s directors said AGO was left with no choice but to close shop after it was told by its banking institution that all its bank accounts would be closed.
However, the company - with around 4500 employees who face joblessness - made an about-turn earlier this month and applied for the reversal of its liquidation proceedings and for its control to be returned from liquidators back to its board.
AGO liquidator Cloete Murray is opposing the application to reverse the liquidation by the board.
According to News24, Murray has told the court through a supplementary affidavit that the board had resolved to give AGO chief executive Gavin Watson R10million in the form of a performance bonus and eventually paid him R5m in January.
Trade union federation Cosatu reacted with outrage to the allegations that Watson had received R5m while Bosasa workers were facing job losses because of the pending liquidation.
Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said Watson did not deserve the bonus since he had been involved in corrupt business practices.
“He has bought politicians to fix tenders for him. He has stopped people from competing honestly for tenders.”
Pamla said through Bosasa’s backhanded business practices, black-owned business and small to medium enterprises were robbed of chances to compete honestly.
“If we say the business of the Guptas was toxic and rotten to the core, we cannot excuse Gavin Watson.
“It is not even an issue of a bonus, he does not deserve most of the income he had generated out of the business model because it wasn’t an honest business model. His business model was about looting the resources of the state, bribing politicians, bribing senior bureaucrats,” he said.
Pamla also blamed government for failing to swiftly deal with corruption within private companies.
“Where the politicians are compromised they do not decisively deal with private businesses,” he said.
However, the AGO board indicated last month that the decisions made by FNB and ABSA to terminate their relationship with them and the subsequent decision to file for liquidation were not based on the company’s liquidity status, financial stability, operational performance or growth forecasts. It said while AGO was solvent, it had to close shop because it was unable to trade without a bank account.