Agrizzi applies for bail in corruption case involving former ANC MP Vincent Smith

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi is facing fraud and corruption charges. File photo.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi is facing fraud and corruption charges. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

The state is opposing former Bosasa Angelo Agrizzi’s bail application in his corruption case at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court.

Agrizzi is a co-accused in the R800,000 fraud and corruption case against former ANC MP Vincent Smith, who is accused of accepting gratification from Bosasa  to act in its interest in parliament.

The state claims that Agrizzi had lied under oath about a house worth R13.5m that he owns under a trust account. The state also says he failed to pay his bond on which he owed R8.7m, which led to the property being auctioned off last week.

Agrizzi is said to have been hospitalised when Smith first appeared in early October. He appeared in court with an oxygen tank, which his lawyer said was now a permanent feature due to his ill health.

The state said Agrizzi had also failed to hand over his Italian passport, which his lawyer says is lost and that they informed the Italian consulate. Agrizzi’s lawyer, Daniel Wiltz, said they were disturbed by the state's sudden change in tone. He said they were not informed prior to coming to court that the state planned to oppose bail. He said he was blindsided in court by the state.

“If you’re going to oppose, notify your colleagues beforehand. I find that a little disturbing from the state’s side,” Wiltz said.

“It is common practice that if you intend opposing you take the common courtesy to inform your colleague to say, ‘I’m opposing and this is why I’m opposing’.”

Agrizzi is charged with fraud and corruption where the state alleges he facilitated payments amounting to R800,000 to  Smith between 2015 and 2016.

According to the state, the payments facilitated by Agrizzi were gratification to ensure that Smith used his position as chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services to act in the interests of Bosasa.

 

There was, at the time, a Special Investigating Unit report which found the manner in which Bosasa was awarded its four tenders to the tune of R1bn at the department of correctional services was riddled with corruption.

The state alleges that Smith, who was initially scathing on Bosasa, seemingly changed his tune in 2013 just before Bosasa, through Agrizzi, started paying him. This was firstly through installing a security system including an electric fence and cameras in 2014 worth R200,000 and then later through payments of R276,665.90 and R395,076.00 on July 14 2015 and August 5 2016 respectively through Smith’s company Euro Blitz 48. Smith was excused after the case in relation to him was postponed to December 3, while Agrizzi continued to argue for his bail.

Wiltz said his client, Agrizzi, was acting on behalf of Bosasa on the instruction of the late CEO Gavin Watson and that bringing charges against his client amounted to “shooting the messenger”.

He said as far as he was concerned all these charges related to Watson. He also said he was not even sure that Watson was indeed deceased.

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