Case of graft-accused chief magistrate Desmond Nair postponed to November

Desmond Nair the Pretoria chief magistrate at the launch of the Decentralised Family Law Services at Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Etienne Creux

Desmond Nair the Pretoria chief magistrate at the launch of the Decentralised Family Law Services at Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Etienne Creux

Published Jul 10, 2023


Johannesburg - Suspended chief magistrate and corruption-accused Desmond Nair has had his case provisionally postponed to November 30.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said the postponement was so the defence could make representations as to why Nair should not be prosecuted.

“Nair faces charges of corruption for having received gratification to the value of R200 000 in security upgrades from African Global Operations and Global Technology Systems (formerly known as Bosasa) in September 2016. The upgrades involve an electric fence, an alarm system, perimeter beams and a CCTV system at Nair’s Pretoria home in Silverton. The State alleges that Nair was granted the upgrades for his influence to act in a dishonest, improper, or unlawful manner,” said Seboka.

Nair has been suspended as a magistrate for four years now; he has denied benefiting from Bosasa-sponsored security upgrades to his home.

It was alleged that former Bosasa IT specialist Richard le Roux claimed at the time that he had been instructed by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi to oversee security installations at Nair’s Pretoria home.

Le Roux said the installations cost R250 000 and included an electric fence, a camera system and alarm beams.

He admitted to receiving security upgrades, but disputed Bosasa and Le Roux’s involvement and the cost of the project. He claimed that he had an oral agreement with a man identified only as Bejoo to install a basic camera system and repair the existing electric fence, alarm system and beams for a maximum agreed price of R50 000.

Last year, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services said in addition to the criminal charges, misconduct proceedings, as provided for in the Magistrate’s Act and the Code of Judicial Conduct for Magistrates, had been instituted against Nair.

“There are two stages to misconduct proceedings. There is, first, an internal investigation conducted by the Magistrates’ Commission. Thereafter, there is a parliamentary procedure,” said the department.

In response to the charges, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola said all persons are equal before the law, whether they are lay persons or officers of the court.

“The law must now take its course, as it would in every criminal case. Justice must not only be done, but manifestly be seen to be done,” he said

Meanwhile, Seboka said former chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi’s fraud case had been deferred to October 4.

“Agrizzi stands accused of offering gratification of over R800k, on behalf of Bosasa, to former parliamentarian Vincent Smith in exchange for his influence as the then chairperson of Parliament’s oversight committee on correctional services.”

In a separate matter, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, ruled in April that Agrizzi was fit to stand trial virtually, said Seboka.