- Angelo Agrizzi's lawyers believe the court erred when denying him bail.
- Agrizzi's ill health and stay in ICU should be reason enough to grant him bail.
- The State countered that Agrizzi did not fully disclose all his assets abroad, as he should have.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi's health should have been considered before his bail application was denied by the Specialised Commercial Crime Court, his lawyers have argued in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
On Monday, Agrizzi's lawyers sought leave to appeal the court's decision to deny Agrizzi bail last week in his corruption matter relating to alleged payments to former ANC MP Vincent Smith.
Advocate Mannie Witz argued before Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng that a crowded prison was not suitable for Agrizzi's medical condition and comorbidities, especially in the midst of Covid-19.
Witz read a report from a physician stating that as of Monday morning Agrizzi remained in intensive care on ventilation.
"We submit that the learned magistrate erred in this regard of not considering bail conditions, especially when he had the evidence of the appellant's chronic medical condition."
Witz said they were not submitting to the court that every single person with a severe chronic medical condition should be excused and granted bail, but were arguing that he be released due to the evidence in the matter and his personal circumstances, in view of his current medical condition.
The lawyer also argued the State's case was not strong enough.
He said the investigating officer gave no detailed reasons for why Agrizzi should not be granted bail.
He said the information presented to court about Agrizzi's financial transactions was also problematic, and other things were missing from the affidavit submitted to court by the investigating officer.
Witz argued that if the transactions were done without any approval from the Reserve Bank and the South African Revenue Service, it would have been a different story.
He said all the transactions were done according to offshore allowance and were declared.
"We submit that the learned magistrate erred with regards to the State's case."
He said it would be easier if their client was released on bail.
The court heard Agrizzi's ICU ward was heavily guarded by security. His feet were also tied to the bed with a chain.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi's bail appeal will be heard in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg before Judge Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, this morning. Advocate Arno Rossouw will argue for the State and Mannie Witz for Agrizzi. #AngeloAgrizzi @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/RVmn2r9lo2— Sesona Sestien Ngqakamba (@Sesona_Ngqaks) October 26, 2020
Witz said the court erred in finding that it was not in the interest of justice to release Agrizzi.
He said the magistrate did not take into account that Agrizzi had no previous convictions and that he has been cooperative not only with the inquiry into state capture, but also other entities of the state, including the Special Investigating Unit.
Moving on to the issue of flight risk, Witz said: "The point is, if South African borders are porous as the learned magistrate said, that doesn't mean that every single person who appears in our courts of law, whatever the charges are, you now say that's the reason I can't give bail because borders are porous."
Witz said there was no evidence in that regard.
Agrizzi, said Witz did not pose a danger to society and would not escape trial. He said those aspects should have been considered by the magistrate who presided over his bail application.
He added that the magistrate's comparison of Agrizzi to alleged serious crimes by the Gupta family was also problematic.
He said Agrizzi's case was different because he had declared all his funds.
"We say in particular that if he is released on bail he won't interfere with anyone. We submit he is not a flight risk. We submit bail be fixed to R50 000," Witz said.
He said Agrizzi would remain in the same house and that the sale of his property was not successful.
Witz also submitted that Agrizzi needed to appear in another matter on 3 December.
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Any change in his residential address would be communicated to the State and the investigating officer, Witz said.
Mokgoatlheng pointed out that the State's argument included that Agrizzi had more assets outside the country.
He argued that Agrizzi's investments offshore should not be used against him.
"It's all done legally. If it was done illegal, then that would have been another issue. We submit that it would be in the interest of justice that he be released on bail. In the condition he's in, I don't think he is aware of what is happening around him."
The State, however, countered, saying its main argument was that Agrizzi failed to fully disclose his foreign assets in his initial affidavits, State prosecutor Arno Rossouw said.
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Rossouw argued that the former COO had deliberately not informed the court of his assets offshore and was duty bound to do so. But his lawyers argued that he had.
"My submission draws further that only if it can be shown that a weak case [was made] against the appellant, it can be taken into account that [he be granted bail]," Rossouw said.
Judgment was reserved to Friday.
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