No bail for flight-risk Agrizzi over graft case

Angelo Agrizzi , former Bosasa Chief Operations officer, appearing at Pam Ridge Magistrates Court .
Angelo Agrizzi , former Bosasa Chief Operations officer, appearing at Pam Ridge Magistrates Court .
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Former Bosasa chief executive officer Angelo Agrizzi has been denied bail.

This means Agrizzi, who had woken up at his home this morning, will be in prison until his next court appearance on December 3.

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 in order to act in its interest in parliament.

Magistrate Phillip Venter, at the Palm Ridge court, said Agrizzi has set up enough money off-shore - which he failed to disclose in two courts - to guarantee himself a comfortable life should he decide to flee the country.

The state argued that failure by Agrizzi to disclose over R30m in off-shore accounts made him a flight risk. He and his wife are said to have transferred at least R23m to accounts in Italy and have also acquired houses and cars in that country.

Venter said that the state had made a substantial case that the abandonment of local assets, which was said to be around R2m in liquid cash and a house worth R13.5m, will not present an issue to Agrizzi if he loses it all as it was substantially less than what he had abroad.

He said the state painted a colourful picture of a planned movement of money from SA to untouchable accounts off-shore. Venter also cited that the Guptas' departure from the country had become a serious headache for the National Prosecuting Authority, who have had issues bringing him back into the country to face corruption charges. “I cannot contribute to yet another name being added to that headache,” Venter said.

He said the court can only decide on what’s before it and the evidence before it was not thumb-sucked. It was not disputed that his off-shore accounts were investment with the full knowledge of Sars but magistrate Venter was concerned with the non-disclosure. “Why hide?” he asked.

He said it was common cause that Agrizzi has health conditions and therefore cormobidities. “However, his health concern is not the only factor which has to direct which way the bail application goes,” Venter said.

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