Former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi set to stand trial for allegedly bribing ANC MP

Former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi. File image.

Former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi. File image.

Published Jul 8, 2023


Johannesburg - Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi looks set to stand trial in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg, despite his ill-health, for allegedly bribing former ANC MP Vincent Smith.

This was revealed by the State at the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court yesterday after the court alluded that they would consider a submission made by the State that Agrizzi should stand trial virtually.

His court appearance was provisionally postponed to October 4 to allow all parties to conclude preparations ahead of the trial date.

Agrizzi took ill in October 2020, appearing in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud and corruption along with Smith. Due to his ill-health, the State was forced to separate their trials.

According to the charges against Smith, the State alleges that on or about October 2014, employees of Bosasa, acting on the instructions of Agrizzi or the late Gavin Watson – the former CEO of Bosasa – erected and installed a full electric fence and internet protocol-based system to the total value of R200 000 at Smith’s house in Roodepoort.

The State alleges that Smith did not pay a cent for those services.

It further alleges that on July 14, 2015, Jacques Riaan van Zyl, an employee of Bosasa, acting on the instructions of Agrizzi, deposited an amount of R 276 667.90 in cash into Euroblitz’s FNB account.

In another charge, the State alleges that on August 5, 2016, Agrizzi allegedly instructed Christo van Wyk, an attorney practising under the name of Van Wyk Van Deventer Incorporated: “Could you please effect a payment (settlement) from the trust funds you have currently under the Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd account into Euroblitz bank account.

“On August 6, 2016, an amount of R395 076 was paid from the Nedbank account of Christo van Wyk Inc to Euroblitz's bank account,” the indictment stated.

The State argues that the gratuities were corruptly given and received as improper inducements in furtherance of an ongoing scheme to influence Smith to use his office and/or position in Parliament and/or his political influence to the advantage of Bosasa, Agrizzi and Watson.

Smith is due back in the High Court in Joburg on August 25.

In April this year, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered Agrizzi to appear on an unrelated charge of fraud and corruption involving R1.8 billion.

The charges are related to tenders between Bosasa and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The criminal matter involves four tenders, valued at more than R1.8bn, which were awarded to Bosasa and its subsidiaries between August 2004 and 2007.

He stands accused with former Correctional Services bosses Linda Mti, former Correctional Services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa employee Andries van Tonder.

The four are due back in the Pretoria High Court on July 20.

Mti is fingered as the central figure in the illegal awarding of massive tenders worth R1.8bn to the controversial Bosasa company under ownership of the late Gavin Watson. These details are part of the final docket served on Mti and his co-accused. In the indictment, the State said that Mti was appointed as the national commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services as from September 1, 2001, for a period of three years.

As the accounting officer of the department, Mti held the responsibility for the financial and functional approval and awarding of tenders issued by the department. The State, however, argues that the four tenders forming the subject of these criminal charges were awarded to Bosasa, Sondolo IT and Phezulu Fencing during Mti’s tenure.

As a result of the combined charges, Mti is the only accused who was charged with five counts of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. Mti also faces one count of corruption. He also stands accused along with Gillingham and Agrizzi on four counts of fraud each. Gillingham was also charged with corruption. He also faces five counts of money laundering along with Agrizzi and Van Tonder.

The Saturday Star