SIU assessing unlawful approval of Bosasa liquidation

Former chief operations officer of Bosasa Angelo Agrizzi took the stand and testified in the state capture commission of inquiry in Parktown, Gauteng. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ African News Agency(ANA)

Former chief operations officer of Bosasa Angelo Agrizzi took the stand and testified in the state capture commission of inquiry in Parktown, Gauteng. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 19, 2023


LATE Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson’s nephew has reported the master’s office in Johannesburg to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) over unlawful approval of Bosasa liquidation.

Jared Watson said this was because the office wanted to sell the assets cheaply.

He complained that the office intended to sell Bosasa’s R243 million Lindela repatriation centre for R69 million, and added that Bosasa head office, which had a replacement cost of R168 million, was sold for R14 million.

His uncle died in a car accident in 2019 after his vehicle crashed into a pillar close to Or Tambo International Airport.

This was after Bosasa (African Global Group) was implicated in wrongdoing and allegations of corruption involving government tenders at the State Capture Commission.

The SIU confirmed that it had received a complaint and that the allegations were still being assessed after Jared was interviewed.

This was after Jared wrote to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

In his complaint letters, which the Sunday Independent has seen, Jared accused the Johannesburg High Court deputy master Reuben Maphaha as the culprit behind this.

He said it became apparent that Maphaha had authorised the interim liquidation account of the provincial liquidators for various of Bosasa’s estates on June 8, 2023. Jared said the interim liquidation accounts were not included in the master’s files and were held separately.

“When the interim liquidation accounts were provided, it became apparent that they had been submitted to the Master only 1 day earlier on 7 June 2023 by provisional liquidator Mr Ralph Lutchman,” Jared said.

He said Maphaha had unlawfully approved a fee of more than R8 million for the provisional liquidators under the request of Lutchman.

Jared added that on his inspection, the full extent of the fees Lutchman had applied for Maphaha to approve amounted to R46 million for six Bosasa entities.

He said the entities had to pay the following amounts:

  • African Global Operations – R8 177 356.68
  • Bosasa Youth Development Centres – R16 473 465.00
  • Bosasa Properties – R3 783 582.83
  • Black Rox Security Intelligence Services – R9 677 090.91
  • Global Technology Systems – R2 143 732.84
  • Leading Prospect Trading 111 – R5 580 980.14

Jared said both the application of Lutchman and approval by Maphaha were contrary to all legislation regarding insolvency within the Insolvency Act and the Companies Act of 1973.

He said Maphaha and Lutchman acted unlawfully and in contravention of their duties as Master and provisional liquidator.

He said the section of the Insolvency Act and Companies Act was contravened because the account of the provisional liquidators was approved by Maphaha without being opened for inspection by the creditors.

“Mr Lutchman as provisional liquidator never notified the public of the accounts submitted, nor that the accounts would lie open for inspection. Mr Lutchman never advertised in the gazette that Mr Maphaha had approved these accounts the very next day on June 8, 2023,” he said.

Attempts to reach Lutchman for comment were unsuccessful. Maphaha and the office master, Leonard Pule, did not respond to the questions sent on Thursday.

He added that neither Maphaha nor Lutchman provided interested parties, including creditors, their lawful rights to inspect these accounts and to object to them before confirmation of the accounts by Maphaha.

Jared said as a provisional liquidator, not finally appointed at a meeting of creditors, Lutchman was prevented from even submitting an account for approval and as such, the application and approval were unlawful.

He said this was done before any meeting of creditors was advertised in the gazette on August 18, 2023.

He said Maphaha as deputy master was a judicial officer, and was obliged to act under the precepts of natural justice, which forced him to apply procedural fairness. But he failed to act independently and impartially.

Maphaha was aware of this perception and the allegation when the first meeting of creditors was convened, and should have recused himself but he did not, Jared said.

The matter had been brought to the attention of the chief master but had never responded, he added, nor had chief master, Penelope Roberts.

Department of Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri also did not respond. However, in a response to the letter, Phiri said the matter has been referred for an internal investigation to be conducted.

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