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Agrizzi admitted to hospital


Former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer Angelo Agrizzi has been admitted to hospital a day after he was denied bail by the court.

South Africa – Johannesburg – Angelo Agrizzi. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

FORMER Bosasa Chief Operations Officer Angelo Agrizzi has been admitted to hospital a day after he was denied bail by the court.

The Department of Correctional Services confirmed on Thursday that this was due to the fact that Johannesburg prison does not have the medical facilities that Agrizzi requires.

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Agrizzi was stable.

“The Department of Correctional Services can confirm that remand detainee, Angelo Agrizzi, has been transferred to an external public hospital in order to receive further medical care. All inmates are entitled to healthcare services in line with correctional provisions. His condition will continue to be monitored,” said Nxumalo.

Agrizzi has launched another bail application in the South Gauteng High Court.

Agrizzi was denied bail in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday where he was appearing alongside Vincent Smith – former ANC parliamentarian and former chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services – charged with corruption.

Smith and his company Euroblitz were also charged with fraud. In that indictment – the state alleged that Agrizzi and former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson paid gratifications of more than R800 000 to Smith while serving as chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services. The gratification payments allegedly included security upgrades at Smith’s Roodepoort’s house and more than R395 000 for a “car accident settlement ”. All these funds were paid directly into Euroblitz’s account. Smith allegedly transferred some of these funds into his private banking accounts of three major banks in the country.

Smith made his first appearance on the charges on October 1 and was granted bail of R30 000.

On Wednesday, Agrizzi was not so lucky, when he made his first appearance following his release from hospital. He is suffering from an undisclosed illness, but arrived in court carrying an oxygen pump unit in his hand.

He was denied bail after the prosecution led evidence that Agrizzi did not disclose that he had funds in offshore accounts including various assets beyond South African borders. The court also found that he did not disclose that he was in possession of an Italian passport when he initially appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on February 6, 2019.

In that matter, Agrizzi is facing multiple counts of fraud and corruption worth R1.9 billion , along with four others including former National Commissioner of Correctional Services Linda Mti.

All of them are accused of having allowed Bosasa to illegally acquire tenders at the Department of Correctional Services between 2004 and 2006. The alleged fraud and corruption were uncovered by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) following a presidential proclamation but no action was taken against Agrizzi and his accomplices.

Agrizzi was granted bail of R20 000 after he told the Pretoria Special Commercial Crimes Court that he was the legal owner Helderfontein Estate worth R13.5m and had movable assets worth R2.65m.

He was denied bail on Wednesday after the court found that Agrizzi has since December 2018 been shipping millions out of the country including purchasing a luxurious house and vehicle in Italy.

According to the court records, Agrizzi moved millions of rand between December 2018 and January 3, 2019, to various offshore accounts and unknown persons living overseas. He continued to do so, even after he was charged with fraud and corruption.

The court heard that he made the last transfer payment of R30m to an offshore account belonging to wife Debbie on March 20, 2020.

The court also found that he did not disclose that he was in possession of an Italian passport to the police during his bail application February last year.

On Thursday, Aggrizi’s lawyer Daniel Witz confirmed that his client has granted him a power of attorney to serve papers to the Investigating Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Magistrate Phillip Venter – who denied him bail.

“We served notice of intention to all of them today. We also notified the High Court. We are just waiting for the court’s record to be typed. Afterwards, we will file papers and we expect the matter to be heard soon in the High Court,” Witz said.

Agrizzi signed the power of attorney while in jail yesterday. Investigating Directorate (ID) spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala confirmed that they’ve been notified of Agrizzi’s intention to appeal the bail denial.

Agrizzi is due back in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court today along with Mti and others for the R1.9bn fraud and corruption case.

The prosecution, Independent Media understands, is likely to ask the court to forfeit his R20 000 bail to the State following revelations which emerged at the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday.