- The lawyer representing former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi took umbrage with the State's "unexpected" decision to oppose bail during his court appearance on Wednesday.
- Agrizzi is being charged together with former ANC MP Vincent Smith, and made his first appearance in the case.
- He is facing charges of corruption for payments made to Smith while Smith was an MP.
Former Bosasa boss turned whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi allegedly withheld information about the value of his assets, and together with his wife Deborah, moved millions of rand offshore and into crypto currency accounts, a Gauteng court has heard.
Agrizzi bought a home in Italy worth about R15 million, disposed of assets including two multimillion-rand Ferrari sportscars, transferred millions of rand into multiple crypto currency accounts and moved millions more offshore to Italy – all while failing to service a bond with Absa on his luxury Dainfern home. The home was sold via auction last week for R9 million.
The State is now accusing Agrizzi of failing to properly disclose any of this during his February 2019 bail application in a separate corruption case.
In support of the opposition to his bail application in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, the State filed an affidavit setting out that in light of the evidence of money movements offshore, Agrizzi may be a flight risk.
The affidavit is by Lieutenant Colonel Bernardus Lazarus who is the investigating officer in a separate corruption case against Agrizzi and former prisons officials related to Bosasa graft dating back to 2005, for which Agrizzi was arrested and released on bail last year.
Lazarus revealed that Agrizzi told the court in his 6 February 2019 bail application that he owned the Dainfern property which was bonded for R8 million, and that he and his wife had movable assets valued at about R2.6 million and immovable property worth about R14 million
But, Lazarus stated that since then, new information had come to light "including the fact that the applicant (Agrizzi) had furnished false information in the bail proceedings".
- The immovable properties were not registered in Agrizzi's or his wife's names, but registered to the Agrizzi Family Trust.
- On 6 February 2019, Agrizzi had no vehicles registered to his name and transferred ownership of a Ferrari 360 Modena and a BMW 760Li to his wife.
- Between 11 December 2018 and 19 January 2019, Agrizzi transferred R11.9 million to offshore accounts.
- Between 21 December 2018 and 3 January 2019, Deborah Agrizzi transferred R11.9 million to offshore accounts, from funds originating from payments to her FNB account totalling R7.9 million referenced "Ferrari" – the proceeds of the sale of two Ferrari sportscars and R12 million from numerous accounts in Agrizzi's name.
- Agrizzi and his wife held R8.7 million in various accounts and credit cards.
"It is therefore clear that the applicant (Agrizzi) misrepresented the value of movable assets belonging to himself and his wife significantly…as illustrated above they had liquid assets (cash in hand) of at least R8.5 million in local bank accounts and/or cash, offshore assets to the value of at least R24 million as well as vehicles to the value of at least R2.8 million," Lazarus stated.
Payments to Deborah Agrizzi's accounts "appear to be consistent with the disposal of assets at the time", Lazarus set out.
He also revealed that Absa was considering legal action to recoup R9 million Agrizzi owed on the bond of the Dainfern home, which was last paid in February 2019.
Also, at around the same time, Agrizzi made large payments, approximately R5 million, into crypto currency accounts, while not servicing the bond, which Lazarus maintained was evidence that Agrizzi had no intention to service the bond debt.
Agrizzi also made various payments to bank accounts held in Italy by himself and his wife.
Lawyer Mannie Witz confirmed that Agrizzi and Deborah had divorced early on in their marriage, but continued to live together and raise their children as common law partners.
Lazarus also revealed that they learnt in August 2019 that Agrizzi had failed to hand over an Italian passport which after their inquiries, Agrizzi said was lost.
His South African passport, which has since expired, was seized by Lazarus, the court heard.
"I am now of the opinion that the applicant indeed poses a flight risk as he has the means of leaving the country and he chose to mislead the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, Pretoria on 6 February 2019…in that he failed to mention his offshore assets," Lazarus stated.
Agrizzi, other former Bosasa employees and correctional services officials were arrested last year shortly after his marathon testimony before the Zondo commission into state capture, during which he revealed decades of grand corruption perpetrated by Bosasa.
The case under investigation by Lazarus is linked to a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe that looked into allegations relating to four multibillion-rand correctional services tenders and bribes Bosasa paid to former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti and the department's former chief financial officer, Patrick Gillingham.
However, Agrizzi and former ANC MP Vincent Smith's appearance before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Wednesday relates to a new case, opened by Paul O'Sullivan's Forensics for Justice last year.
News24 first revealed that Smith received R670 000 from Bosasa, money he used to pay his daughter's tuition fees for a university in Wales, and that Bosasa had made security upgrades to Smith's home in Roodepoort, free of charge.
Smith was released on R30 000 bail after he handed himself over to police on 1 October. Agrizzi was unable to appear alongside him at the time due to ill health.
Witz told the court that he had no idea the State was opposing bail until proceedings started and was only handed Lazarus' affidavit at court.
News24 understands the attorneys scrambled to draft a responding affidavit to the statement prepared by Lazarus during a tea break, before which Witz read into the record Agrizzi's affidavit in support of his bail application – which repeated the facts from his bail application last year.
The pair is charged with corruption while Smith faces additional charges of fraud for payments made to Smith's company, Euroblitz, in 2015 and 2016.
The State alleges the payments were made to Smith to silence his opposition to Bosasa during parliamentary committee meetings.
Smith has pleaded not guilty, and maintains the money was a loan from Agrizzi – which Agrizzi denies. Agrizzi also intends to plead not guilty.
Agrizzi arrived at court with a small oxygen device, and Witz explained that his absence from the previous court hearing was due to ill health, which resulted in him being on oxygen daily.
Agrizzi struck a sombre figure in a dark grey suit and purple tie and seemed a shadow of his normally energetic self as seen during lengthy appearances before the Zondo commission into state capture last year and earlier this year.
Reporters filled the public gallery.
The hearing continues.
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