Thapelo Lekabe

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Court set to hear two applications on Angelo Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial

Agrizzi has failed to appear in court several times due to his ailing health.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will this week hear two applications against corruption-accused former Bosasa chief operating officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial.

The two inquiries have been set down for six days starting on Tuesday until 19 April.

Bosasa R1.8 billion corruption case

Agrizzi has failed to appear in court several times due to his ailing health since he suffered a heart attack on 21 October 2020.

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The case is in connection with fraud and corruption charges Agrizzi faces related to four tenders, valued at over R1.8 billion, awarded to Bosasa and its subsidiaries by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) between August 2004 and 2007.

The contracts – which are alleged to have been obtained through corruption – were for rendering catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing perimeter fencing and supplying a CCTV system and monitoring equipment at prisons.

Agrizzi has been charged along with his three co-accused, former DCS commissioner Linda Mti, former DCS chief financial officer (CFO) Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa CFO Andries Van Tonder.

Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial

Agrizzi’s advocate, Mannie Witz, insists his client has been unable to attend court proceedings since October 2020 because of a respiratory condition and that he requires oxygen therapy.

Witz has argued that Agrizzi should instead be allowed to appear in court virtually, while the state maintains that court proceedings cannot continue without the accused present.

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The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate (ID) said the two inquiries on Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial will be based on sections of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).

The first application, in terms of Section 67 (2) b of the CPA, states that “if an accused satisfies the court that his failure [to appear in court] 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 is in terms of Section 342A of the CPA which relates to an unreasonable delay in criminal trial proceedings.

The section compels a court to “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 or her legal adviser, the State or a witness”.

Vincent Smith’s corruption case

ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said the hearing on the two inquiries will have a bearing on Agrizzi’s case in Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court related to former African National Congress parliamentarian Vincent Smith‘s corruption case.

Smith stands accused of receiving gratification from Agrizzi to the value of over R800 000 as well as failure to disclose taxable income for his company Euroblitz, from 9 March 2009 and 11 July 2018, totalling R28 million.

That matter has been postponed to 19 April 2023.

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