Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi denied bail in corruption case

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Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)
  • Angelo Agrizzi was denied bail after the magistrate found there was a prima facie case against him. 
  • The whistleblower appeared alongside former ANC MP Vincent Smith. 
  • Agrizzi faces a charge of corruption for payments he made to Smith while he (Smith) was an MP.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi was denied bail by the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. 

Magistrate Phillip Venter said he was satisfied that a prima facie case had been made against Agrizzi. Agrizzi appeared alongside his co-accused, former ANC MP Vincent Smith, on Wednesday.

During his lengthy judgement, Venter said he was satisfied that Agrizzi had the financial means to setup and sustain a "comfortable lifestyle" elsewhere should he decide to abscond. 

"Can these fears be addressed in a less invasive manner?" Venter questioned. 

"If Mr Agrizzi wants to abscond, no bail condition is going to keep him here (South Africa) even if his name is red-flagged to customs. That will assume he tries to depart from a controlled border post," he said. 

He also added: "I cannot put blinkers in my eyes, I would be naive to deny that our borders are porous. Even without a passport, with enough money in hand, you can ensure safe crossing into one of our neighbouring countries, from there, anywhere else."

However, Venter postponed Smith's matter to 3 December, while the court heard Agrizzi's formal bail application. It was Smith's second appearance, while Agrizzi made his first appearance.

Agrizzi was unable to appear alongside Smith at the time due to ill health. Smith was released on bail of R30 000 after handing himself over to police on 1 October. Smith faces one count of fraud and one of corruption, while his company - Euroblitz 48 - also faces a corruption charge.

Agrizzi faces a charge of corruption for payments he made to Smith while he (Smith) was an MP. Smith allegedly received payments to the tune of R800 000 through Euro Blitz 48.

It is alleged that security cameras and an electric fence were installed at Smith's home in Roodepoort, News24 previously reported.

The value of the installation is estimated to be R40 000.Smith has previously maintained his innocence and denied the allegations. On Wednesday, Agrizzi, who was dressed in a dark grey suit and purple tie, arrived in court with a mobile oxygen unit. 

He struck a sombre figure and seemed a shadow of his normally energetic self, as seen during his appearances before the Zondo commission into state capture last year and in other court appearances.

During his bail application, the State opposed bail, saying Agrizzi was a flight risk. 

The State said Agrizzi had failed to disclose information about the value of his assets. 

READ | Angelo Agrizzi's crypto currency, offshore millions and assets: Here's why the State's opposing bail

It said Agrizzi, together with his wife, Deborah, moved millions to offshore accounts between December 2018 and January 2019 - this was before and during his testimony to the commission of inquiry into state capture. 

He also bought property in Italy, worth R15 million, and also allegedly disposed of assets, including Ferrari sports cars, the court heard. Agrizzi had also allegedly transferred millions of rands to crypto currency accounts and moved millions more offshore to Italy. 

The State accused Agrizzi of failing to properly disclose any of this during his February 2019 bail application, in a separate corruption case.

The State said, in light of the evidence of money movements offshore, Agrizzi may be a flight risk.

Meanwhile, Agrizzi's lawyer, Mannie Witz, was not happy with the State's decision to oppose bail, saying it was "unexpected". 

Witz told the court that his client denied there was ever an intention from his side to mislead the courts. He said the court should consider his client's medical condition and his comorbidities amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He also said there was nothing untoward or sinister about Agrizzi's assets, saying they were investments. But the State said the problem was not that Agrizzi had assets, but that he failed to disclose it.

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