Angelo Agrizzi to make virtual appearance at inquiry about failure to attend court

07 March 2023 - 14:40
By Ernest Mabuza
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi in court in October 2020. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi in court in October 2020. File photo.

The application brought by the state against fraud and corruption accused Angelo Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial could not proceed on Tuesday after the state objected to proceedings going ahead in his absence.

The Pretoria high court had set down the case to run for three days in the application by the state concerning Agrizzi’s failure to appear in two court cases since 2020. The former COO of Bosasa has not been able to appear in court because of ill health. 

In one tender fraud case, Agrizzi is co-accused alongside former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti, the departments former CFO Patrick Gillingham and former Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder.

The charges are in connection with four tenders awarded by the department to Bosasa and its subsidiaries valued at more R1.8bn from August 2004 to 2007.

Contracts were for the rendering of catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, perimeter fencing and the supply of television systems and monitoring equipment.

In the second case, Agrizzi is facing charges of corruption in connection with R800,000 worth of kickbacks for former ANC MP Vincent Smith, allegedly received from Bosasa in exchange for his political influence and protection.

The first inquiry the court was supposed to deal with is based on terms in the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).

The act provides that if the accused fails to remain in attendance in court, the court shall declare the bail provisionally cancelled and the bail money provisionally forfeited to the state, and issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused.

During 2021, the state appointed its pulmonologist to examine Agrizzi as he was unable to attend court. Agrizzi appointed his own pulmonologist to examine him. It was up to the court to determine whether Agrizzi is fit to attend trials based on the findings made by the pulmonologists. 

The Investigating Directorate has applied in terms the CPA to ask the court to inquire about unreasonable delays.

The act provides that a court before which criminal proceedings are pending shall 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.

When Agrizzi’s counsel Mannie Witz was about to proceed with the case on Tuesday morning, the state raised an objection about the unavailability of Agrizzi in court.

The court stood the matter down and the state and Agrizzi’s lawyers reached an agreement that he can appear before the court virtually.

Arrangements will be made by the state to ensure Agrizzi’s virtual appearance.  

Witz indicated to the court that he will make himself available virtually.

Despite the loss of a day on Tuesday, Witz said both parties should be able to finish by Thursday.