Pretoria - A very ill-looking Angelo Agrizzi, from his bed and with an oxygen mask over his face and a nurse by his side, yesterday virtually joined the inquiry proceedings held by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to establish the way forward in his corruption trial.
The court, however, shortly afterwards adjourned the proceedings indefinitely, having agreed too much time had already been lost in the application.
The matter was set down for three days, ending today, but it was agreed to postpone the matter to another date – yet to be decided – so it could serve before court for three consecutive days and not in a piece-meal manner.
The hearing also adjourned early on Tuesday in a bid for Agrizzi to virtually join the proceedings from his home.
The court has been asked to pave the way further in the dragged-out criminal trial and to establish whether the delays can be ascribed to Agrizzi and, if so, whether his bail should be revoked as a result.
The issue is that, due to ill health, Agrizzi has not been able to physically attend his criminal trial in court.
One of the options open to the court is to decide whether the trial should proceed in his absence.
Agrizzi stands accused of offering R800 000 worth of kickbacks on behalf of Bosasa to former ANC MP Vincent Smith in exchange for his influence as the then chairperson of Parliament’s oversight committee on correctional services.
He is also charged with fraud and corruption in relation to the R1.8 billion Bosasa and Department of Correctional Services tenders of 2004-2007.
As he has not appeared in court – allegedly due to ill health – since last year, the State called for an inquiry in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, which states a court before which criminal proceedings are pending shall investigate any delay in the completion of proceedings which appears to the court to be unreasonable and which could cause substantial prejudice to the various parties involved.
His defence team maintained it was clear that, in view of his medical and health condition, together with the approximate 49 days he spent in ICU and/or high care until his discharge in December 2020, Agrizzi was clearly in no condition to attend court.
As things stand, it also does not appear as if he will be able to physically attend court in the near future. His medical team have expressed the view Agrizzi cannot physically attend his court hearings in person on account of his medical condition.
According to his legal team, it is clear Agrizzi’s extremely serious and critical health condition, which they said unfortunately still exists, has prevented him from attending the court proceedings.
His lawyer, Mannie Witz, said in view of the medical reports, which were in possession of the State, this inquiry was not done in good faith, as it’s clear for all to see his client was seriously ill.
Witz said it was clear from the medical reports and the evidence supplied to the State that up to and until October 14, 2020, Agrizzi had attended courts on each and every occasion that he had to.
“From then up until December 7, 2020, Agrizzi was in ICU/High Care at the Fourways Life Hospital where fortunately the medical doctors managed to save his life,” Witz said.
According to him,it was clear it was not his client’s fault that he could not attend court any longer.