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Agrizzi back in court over Bosasa graft

Bosasa’s former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi and former African National Congress (ANC) MP Vincent Smith are expected back in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 3 December 2020.

The pair face fraud and corruption charges in relation to hundreds of thousands of rands Agrizzi admitted to giving to Smith as bribes. Smith has however denied that the monies paid were backhanders, saying it was actually a loan he had requested, meant to go towards his daughter’s tuition. Smith is also alleged to have received security upgrades to his home, for which Bosasa footed the bill.

However it remains to be seen whether the matter will go as planned as Agrizzi’s ill-health has led to a number of postponements. He had suffered a heart attack after spending his first night in police custody, after the court had initially denied him bail, saying he was a flight risk. It was revealed in court that he and his common law wife had transferred approximately R24 million to offshore accounts. He also purchased property and a luxury car in Italy – coincidentally, Agrizzi claimed to have lost his Italian passport.

Smith handed himself over to the authorities at the Alberton Police Station in Johannesburg in the beginning of October and appeared in the same court just hours later. He pleaded not guilty and was released on R30 000 bail.

In November, Agrizzi’s R1.8 billion corruption case involving the Department of Correctional Services had to also be postponed, due to his health. His lawyer told media that Agrizzi was still in hospital recovering.

The accused in the matter are former National Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Linda Mti, former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Gillingham, BOSASA Operations (Pty) Ltd Ex-Chief Operations Officer Angelo Agrizzi and erstwhile Chief financial officer Andries van Tonder.

The group face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, corruption, and money laundering.

“Charges in connection to four tenders awarded to Bosasa Operations PTY (Ltd) and its subsidiaries valued at over R1.8 billion between the periods August 2004 – 2007. Contracts for the rendering of catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing of perimeter fencing, supply of television systems and monitoring equipment,” said the Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala.

Agrizzi still recovering in hospital

The accused in the R1.8 billion corruption case involving the Department of Correctional Services returned to the Pretoria Specialised Commerical Crimes court on Thursday morning 26 November 2020. According to Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala, one of the accused, former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi, was not present in court as he is still in hospital.

Agrizzi’s lawyer Daniel Witz confirmed the postponement and said his client was still in hospital recovering. He could not, however, specify the current health condition of his client.

Roughly one month ago on 21 October, news broke that Agrizzi suffered a heart attack after several serious health complications. Witz said doctors had to resuscitate him and eventually managed to stabilise him.

Shortly before, Agrizzi was arrested for alleged corrupt dealings alongside African National Congress (ANC) MP Vincent Smith and spent one night in prison cells after he was denied bail based on the fact that he was at flight risk.

Following one night in prison, Agrizzi was rushed to hospital on account of breathing problems.

After a brief court appearance, Twala confirmed that the case had been postponed to 18 February 2020 to allow the defence time to study the docket.

The accused in the matter are former National Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Linda Mti, former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Gillingham, BOSASA Operations (Pty) Ltd Ex-Chief Operations Officer Angelo Agrizzi and erstwhile Chief financial officer Andries van Tonder.

The group face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, corruption, and money laundering.

“Charges in connection to four tenders awarded to Bosasa Operations PTY (Ltd) and its subsidiaries valued at over R1.8 billion between the periods August 2004 – 2007. Contracts for the rendering of catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing of perimeter fencing, supply of television systems and monitoring equipment,” said Twala.

Former parliamentarian Vincent Smith and Agrizzi are to appear before the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on 3 December.

Smith stands accused of accepting gratifications in the form of security upgrades to his home and cash transferred into his personal bank account via the bank account of his company, Euroblitz Pty Ltd.

“Payment in exchange for the use of his political influence as a member of Parliament to shield BOSASA from accountability for corrupting officials in the Department of Correctional Services who awarded BOSASA contracts worth billions of Rands,” said Twala.

All the while Agrizzi stands accused of making payments to Smith, from himself, Gavin Watson and or BOSASA. Both have been charged with contravening section 7 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PRECCA) and Smith alone is charged with fraud.

“Smith’s fraud charge emanates from his failure to disclose to the Registrar of parliamentary members’ interests the gratifications that he received from BOSASA, pursuant to the corrupt activities with which he, Euroblitz and the other accused are charged,” added Twala.

Agrizzi and Smith are both out on bail.

Agrizzi Bail Appeal – Judgement Reserved

The court has reserved judgement on the bail appeal by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi.  Agrizzi is set to spent a few more days in custody in hospital where he is chained to his bed.  The former Bosasa head is heavily guarded with guards stationed outside his room, in the passage outside the ICU as well as in the parking lot.  Judgement will be delivered on Friday.

Agrizzi’s attorney Mannie Witz told media that life would be easier for his client if he was released on bail because of his deteriorating medical condition.  Agrizzi’s bail was denied in the Commercial Crimes Court two weeks ago.  After spending one night in prison, he was rushed to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital after struggling to breathe.  He has since been moved to a private hospital where he later suffered a heart attack.

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