The Watson family was prepared to do anything to keep whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi quiet — including offering him an R80m hush fund.
An e-mail to Agrizzi from Bosasa lawyer Brian Biebuyck last September — which the Sunday Times has seen — contained a proposed agreement revealing an elaborate web to make the payments appear legitimate.
In the proposal, Bosasa boss Gavin Watson would pay Agrizzi a monthly consultancy fee of R250,000.
Agrizzi would also set up a new company, Newco, to which Watson would pay up to R10m a year, for six years.
Watson also included a R5m “good faith” payment.
Agrizzi’s fee would be for advising Watson “personally in relation to his business dealings”.
In exchange for these payments, Agrizzi was to back out of an undertaking he had given the media to release details of corruption at Bosasa and try to “reverse the negative publicity that was attracted due to the statement, particularly with regards to the clients and financial institutions related to the business”.
The proposal also stated that “neither party shall do, allow to be done or cause to be done, anything which does or may impugn the good name and reputation of either party”.
So keen were the Watsons to manage Agrizzi that the agreement proposed setting up an “oversight committee” to mediate any possible future disagreements between Watson and Agrizzi.
The committee would comprise Biebuyck, Agrizzi’s current business partner, former Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder and Watson’s brothers Cheeky, Valance and Ronnie.