/ 18 October 2022

Medical inquiry delays Angelo Agrizzi’s corruption case, again

Angelo Agrizzi
Whitsleblower Angelo Agrizzi apparently from a respiratory condition. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy/M&G

The medical inquiry into Angelo Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial has further delayed his fraud and corruption case at the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court. 

In the commercial crimes court sitting in Palm Ridge on Tuesday, Agrizzi’s case was postponed to January, when the alleged fraudster’s medical inquiry at the Pretoria high court is expected to be completed. 

Tuesday’s sitting was expected to finally move the case from the commercial crimes court to the high court for the long-overdue start of Agrizzi’s trial. 

Agrizzi, who is the former chief operations officer at infamous services firm Bosasa, faces two separate fraud and corruption matters — in Johannesburg and Pretoria — for alleged bribes his former company gave to senior politicians in return for billions of rand in lucrative state contracts. 

In the Johannesburg matter, Agrizzi was initially arrested in October 2020 alongside former ANC member of parliament Vincent Smith, who allegedly received more than R800 000 in bribes from the former while he was chairperson of the correctional services department committee from 2009 to 2014. 

In that period, according to Agrizzi’s testimony at the Zondo state capture inquiry, Bosasa received an R838-million correctional services catering contract.  

Smith and Agrizzi were separated as accused because of the continued no-show of Agrizzi in court, because of an alleged respiratory condition that, according to his lawyer Mannie Witz, has confined the fraud accused to his home. 

It is this medical condition that necessitated the appointment of an independent medical expert in March to assess whether Agrizzi would be well enough to stand trial, including the R1.8-billion graft case he faces in the Pretoria high court. 

In the Pretoria matter, Agrizzi is accused alongside Linda Mti, the correctional service department’s former chief financial officer; Patrick Gillingham, Bosasa’s former chief operations officer; and Andries van Tonder, Bosasa’s former chief financial officer, on of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, corruption and money laundering charges. 

The charges relate to security contracts from August 2004 to 2007 that Bosasa received from the department in an allegedly fraudulent manner. 

During Tuesday’s brief sitting, it was agreed to wait for the Pretoria medical inquiry to conclude, and postpone the Johannesburg matter to January.