Angelo Agrizzi lambastes magistrate for failing to consider his chronic medical condition
Johannesburg – Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi has lambasted a regional magistrate for not considering his chronic medical condition when he denied him bail at the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on October 14.
Agrizzi’s legal counsel Mannie Witz made the remarks in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday while his client is under heavy police guard in hospital after suffering a heart attack last week and remains in a critical condition.
Agrizzi is facing corruption charges for allegedly giving kickbacks to former ANC MP Vincent Smith.
Smith, who is charged alongside Agrizzi, was granted R30 000 bail.
However, Agrizzi was denied bail after the State made representations in court that he had failed to disclose he had made several investments in Italy, including the purchase of a house, a luxury car and had over around R13.5 million in cash in offshore accounts.
In his arguments, Witz said the State was provided with medical certificates of his client.
“The medical certificates were from Agrizzi’s specialist physician/pulmonologist setting out his chronic medical condition. Agrizzi required a continuous use of oxygen.
“It is respectfully submitted that in this respect that the learned regional magistrate (Phillip Venter) erred in not granting Agrizzi bail together with conditions, in view of the undisputed evidence together with severe risks of comorbidities and the increasing rise of Covid-19 cases, in particular at the Johannesburg Central Prison, also known as Sun City,” Witz said.
He said the continued incarceration of Agrizzi, if released from hospital, was likely to make him prone to contract Covid-19 while in jail.
Witz also argued that Venter, in denying Agrizzi bail on October 14, allegedly failed to take into account there had been an agreement between defence and the State relating to the handing over of Agrizzi as well as his court appearance on October 14.
He further added there had been an agreement between the State and the defence as to the fixing of bail together with conditions “on an unopposed basis”.
“The learned regional magistrate further erred in that in terms of the section 60 (11) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Act 55 of 1977, there was no evidence on oath before the court from the investigating officer as to the strength or weakness of the State case against Agrizzi and there was no detail that would persuade a court in hearing a bail application to express even a prima facie view in respect of the matter and the application should have been given a benefit of the doubt, more particularly taking into account the defence submission that in respect of the alleged offence and the alleged gratification, it was the late Gavin Watson/ or Bosasa who made the payment and not Agrizzi. The funds were owned and belonged to the late Gavin Watson,” Witz said.
He also argued Agrizzi made his foreign investments with approval of the South African Reserve Bank and South African Revenue Services.
In opposing bail, State prosecutor Arno Rossouw asked the High Court to deny him bail arguing Agrizzi failed to make a full disclosure of his foreign assets when he applied for bail.
Judgment was postponed to Friday.