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Former Bosasa COO Agrizzi ‘too ill’ for corruption trial — court to weigh medical opinion

Former Bosasa COO Agrizzi ‘too ill’ for corruption trial — court to weigh medical opinion
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk 24 / Beeld)

The continued illness of Bosasa company executive Angelo Agrizzi has stalled his fraud and corruption trial. On Monday, the matter involving Agrizzi and former ANC MP Vincent Smith was remanded until 9 May.

Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi is accused of offering gratification to former ANC MP Vincent Smith arising from four contracts worth R1.8-billion awarded by the Department of Correctional Services to Bosasa and its subsidiaries.

Smith and Agrizzi both face corruption and fraud charges, while Smith faces additional charges of money laundering and tax evasion for alleged payments made to his company, Euroblitz 48 (Pty) Ltd. Agrizzi was denied bail in the matter while Smith was successful in his bail application.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Angelo Agrizzi’s loan of over R600,000 to ANC MP Vincent Smith interrogated at State Capture inquiry

Agrizzi and co-accused: Andries van Tonder, former chief financial officer of Bosasa; Linda Morris Mti, former Correctional Services national commissioner; and Patrick Gillingham, another former Correctional Services employee, are named in a second litigation stemming from the alleged irregular R1.8-billion tender.

In the second case, Agrizzi was granted bail after being charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering, along with some of his former Bosasa colleagues.

However, for trial purposes, the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Palm Ridge granted an application in July 2021 for the separation of the trials of Agrizzi and Smith.

The four contracts, awarded between 2004 and 2007, are for catering and training services, the installation of CCTV cameras and perimeter fencing, and the supply of a television system and monitoring equipment.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Agrizzi and Smith’s key relationship in Bosasa fraud scandal unfolds in court papers

Agrizzi testified at the Zondo commission on 23 January 2019, gave deeply self-incriminating evidence and testified that he was aware of, and involved in, corruption throughout his time at Bosasa.

Heart attack

On Monday, Agrizzi was scheduled to appear in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Palm Ridge in the Smith matter, but failed to arrive. The former Bosasa COO has not appeared in court since he suffered a heart attack in October 2020.

Agrizzi’s lawyer, Mannie Witz, told Daily Maverick: “The case was remanded in Agrizzi’s absence. An arrest warrant has been stayed, and the matter will be heard in the Pretoria High Court. The State wishes to withdraw his bail application due to his failure to appear in court. Doctors and experts will testify about Agrizzi’s physical and mental health.”

In December 2022, News24 reported that State-appointed doctors and Agrizzi’s doctors had completed “all medical examinations”. Gauteng Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba gave directives then for the doctors to submit “joint pre-trial minutes, as to whether they agree to agree or agree to disagree”.

Agrizzi’s health and his fitness to stand trial have been ventilated in court since March 2022.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Medical specialist to decide whether Agrizzi is fit to stand trial

The defence claims Agrizzi is not medically fit to stand trial, and the fact that he is on an oxygen ventilator 24 hours a day, seven days a week makes a virtual hearing impossible.

However, the State is adamant about pursuing prosecution in some form or another. The court will decide after considering medical evidence and deliberation by doctors and experts.

Sindisiwe Seboka, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigative Directorate, confirmed the matter had been postponed pending the outcome of whether Agrizzi was fit to stand trial. The Pretoria High Court will deliver its decision on 9 May. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Christopher Lang says:

    What a load of bull! This government cannot afford to let him testify! He’ll finger every senior official in the ministry! Not that we expect justice or repercussions.
    We’ve seen it all before over the past 20 years on many occasions….

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