Agrizzi a no-show again

Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, who was scheduled to appear before the Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court on Thursday, was a no-show in court, where he and his alleged co-conspirators face charges of fraud and corruption for fleecing the state of R1.8-billion through tenders awarded to the controversial firm. 

Agrizzi — who is charged alongside his former associates Linda Mti, Patrick Gillingham and Andries van Tonder — did not turn up due to medical reasons. 

According to the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate, Sindi Twala, the matter was postponed to 24 June.

Agrizzi’s deteriorating health has been a thorn in the side of prosecutors. The one-time right-hand-man to late Bosasa kingpin Gavin Watson failed to keep a court appearance last November because he was reportedly hospitalised after a heart attack. The case was postponed to allow the defence more time to study the docket.

A warrant of arrest was issued against Agrizzi, but it will not be enforced until he appears in court.

The four men face charges relating to a more than decade-old report by the Special Investigating Unit into the firm’s dealings with the department of correctional services

Bosasa and its subsidiaries were awarded four tenders between 2004 and 2007. The tenders were for catering and training services, installing CCTV cameras, supplying television and monitoring services and erecting fencing.

These lucrative contracts saw the company rake in more than R1.8-billion.

A police investigation found that Gillingham, then the department’s chief financial officer, received gratifications from Bosasa before the first R718-million tender was advertised. 

According to the docket, Gillingham played a key role in the bidding processes that saw Bosasa come out on top. In some cases, Agrizzi and other Bosasa employees had bid specifications in their possession before the tenders were advertised.

Mti, Gillingham’s confidant and then prisons commissioner, also allegedly received cash payments from Bosasa. According to the indictment, Bosasa paid for Mti’s flights, car rental services and accommodation. These payments continued after he left the department.

Van Tonder, Bosasa’s then chief financial officer, is accused of approving these payments. In 2006, he allegedly paid money into an account to purchase a VW Polo for Gillingham’s daughter, Megan.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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