The accused in the R1.8 billion corruption case involving the Department of Correctional Services returned to the Pretoria Specialised Commerical Crimes court on Thursday morning 26 November 2020. According to Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala, one of the accused, former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi, was not present in court as he is still in hospital. 

AGRIZZI STILL IN HOSPITAL RECOVERING 

Agrizzi’s lawyer Daniel Witz confirmed the postponement and said his client was still in hospital recovering. He could not, however, specify the current health condition of his client.

Roughly one month ago on 21 October, news broke that Agrizzi suffered a heart attack after several serious health complications. Witz said doctors had to resuscitate him and eventually managed to stabilise him. 

Shortly before, Agrizzi was arrested for alleged corrupt dealings alongside African National Congress (ANC) MP Vincent Smith and spent one night in prison cells after he was denied bail based on the fact that he was at flight risk. 

Following one night in prison, Agrizzi was rushed to hospital on account of breathing problems.  

BOSASA CORRECTIONAL SERVICES MATTER POSTPONED 

After a brief court appearance, Twala confirmed that the case had been postponed to 18 February 2020 to allow the defence time to study the docket. 

The accused in the matter are former National Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Linda Mti, former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Gillingham, BOSASA Operations (Pty) Ltd Ex-Chief Operations Officer Angelo Agrizzi and erstwhile Chief financial officer Andries van Tonder. 

The group face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, corruption, and money laundering. 

“Charges in connection to four tenders awarded to Bosasa Operations PTY (Ltd) and its subsidiaries valued at over R1.8 billion between the periods August 2004 – 2007. Contracts for the rendering of catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing of perimeter fencing, supply of television systems and monitoring equipment,” said Twala.  

FORMER COO AND VINCENT SMITH TO APPEAR IN DECEMBER

Former parliamentarian Vincent Smith and Agrizzi are to appear before the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on 3 December.

Smith stands accused of accepting gratifications in the form of security upgrades to his home and cash transferred into his personal bank account via the bank account of his company, Euroblitz Pty Ltd.

“Payment in exchange for the use of his political influence as a member of Parliament to shield BOSASA from accountability for corrupting officials in the Department of Correctional Services who awarded BOSASA contracts worth billions of Rands,” said Twala.

All the while Agrizzi stands accused of making payments to Smith, from himself, Gavin Watson and or BOSASA. Both have been charged with contravening section 7 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PRECCA) and Smith alone is charged with fraud.

“Smith’s fraud charge emanates from his failure to disclose to the Registrar of parliamentary members’ interests the gratifications that he received from BOSASA, pursuant to the corrupt activities with which he, Euroblitz and the other accused are charged,” added Twala.

Agrizzi and Smith are both out on bail.