Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s hearing set to resume

A file picture of former Bosasa senior official Angelo Agrizzi in court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of former Bosasa senior official Angelo Agrizzi in court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 11, 2023


Pretoria - The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria will this week – starting today – hear the two applications against former Bosasa chief operating officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi on his fitness to stand trial.

The hearing has been set down for six days.

The two inquiries are based on sections of the Criminal Procedure Act and pertains to his fitness to stand trial.

It follows Agrizzi’s failure to appear in court, which his lawyer has maintained was due to ill health.

The act states: “If an accused satisfies the court that his failure was not due to a fault on his part, the provisional cancellation of the bail and the provisional forfeiture of the bail money shall lapse.”

The second application relates to an alleged unreasonable delay in his trial.

The law in this regard prescribes that the 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 prosecution, the accused or his/her legal adviser, the State or a witness.

Sindisiwe Seboka, Investigating Directorate spokesperson, said the determination of the inquiry would have a bearing on Agrizzi’s corruption case in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

The inquiry was due to start last month, but was postponed on the first day so Agrizzi could try to join the proceedings virtually the next day.

A very ill-looking Agrizzi, from his bed and with an oxygen mask over his face and a nurse by his side, did virtually join the inquiry proceedings for a short while, before the proceedings were again adjourned.

The court has been asked by the State 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 to 2007.

As he has not appeared in court – allegedly due to his ill health – since last year, the State has called for an inquiry in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act into the matter.

His defence team maintained it was clear that, in view of his medical and health condition, together with the about 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 that 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 is clear for all to see his client was seriously ill.

Pretoria News