Angelo Agrizzi fraud and corruption case delayed due to poor health

The corruption and fraud case against Angelo Agrizzi and his co-accused former ANC MP Vincent Smith has been postponed to May 28.

Agrizzi could not attend the hearing at the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday due to concerns about his health.

Lawyer Mannie Witz said his client was at “extremely high risk” of ill health due to the dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason he would only be able to appear after his health improved or he received a vaccine.

“He was taken back to the hospital for tests, further tests have been made. He’s dependent on oxygen. We consult via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In regards to one appearance in the [state capture] inquiry, he will do it on a virtual basis as he can’t appear,” said Witz.

The state has requested a full medical report on his condition. His bail conditions were also amended on Tuesday - the first one being which police station he reports to. Due to a change of location, it will no longer be Douglasdale but Benoni.

Last year the high court decided that as part of his bail conditions he should not leave Gauteng. But his lawyer requested that between April and May he be granted permission to leave the province. 

The reasons for both amendments were not publicly divulged and the state did not oppose the request. 

Witz said the Bosasa whistle-blower was still under strict rest and recovery restrictions from his medical team.

Smith was released on R30,000 bail last year, while Agrizzi was initially denied bail by the same court. He was admitted to hospital a day after bail was denied.

Agrizzi was granted bail by the high court in Johannesburg on October 30 on stringent conditions. They include that he forfeit his Italian villa purchased for about €880,000 (R65m) should he abscond. He must also report to a local police station every Friday and not contact witnesses in the case.

Agrizzi was too ill to attend the trial in Pretoria in November last year, where he faces charges related to the Bosasa R1.8bn fraud and corruption case. He could also not make it on the next court date of February 18. That matter was postponed to June 24.

Smith faces corruption charges in his personal capacity as well as in his capacity as sole director and shareholder of Euroblitz (Pty) Ltd.

The two accused have been charged with contravening section 7 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Smith was also charged with fraud. The charge emanates from his failure to disclose in the register of parliamentary members’ interests gratifications he got from Bosasa.

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