The state says while it does not want Angelo Agrizzi to die in prison, it’s in the interest of justice that he stands trial.
Agrizzi, the former chief operations officer of Bosasa and one of the most prominent state capture whistle-blowers, last month made his first appearance in the dock of the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud and corruption. The charges are in connection with massive kickbacks ANC MP Vincent Smith allegedly received in exchange for his political influence and protection.
Agrizzi was denied bail after the state accused him of having failed to disclose millions of rands worth of offshore assets – including a property in Italy’s Castel del Piano, a luxury car, and about R13.9 million in an Italian bank account. This was when he deposed to an affidavit in support of bail in February in another case in which he has been charged in connection with R1.6 billion worth of dodgy prison contracts Bosasa was awarded.
The day after he was denied bail Agrizzi was admitted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. He has since suffered a heart attack and is in a private hospital in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
On Monday, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard an application to overturn the decision to deny bail.
Proceedings kicked off with advocate Mannie Witz for Agrizzi reading a letter from his client’s pulmonologist into the record.
The letter made mention of the “multiple serious and chronic conditions” Agrizzi suffers from and that he was still on a ventilator in intensive care.
Witz pointed out there were a total of nine officers guarding Agrizzi in the hospital at present, including three stationed in his room. This, he said, made things difficult for the doctors and nurses treating Agrizzi.
“It seems to me, in our discussions, it’s not conducive to treating him,” Witz said.
Witz also questioned the strength of the state’s case against Agrizzi and accused the magistrate who originally denied him bail of not having taken into account that Agrizzi had no previous convictions and had in fact been assisting the authorities investigating state capture.
But advocate Arno Rossouw for the state said Agrizzi’s medical condition was not in dispute.
“The problem is the appellant decided to mislead the court when he applied for bail. He decided to lie and not to take the court into his confidence,” Rossouw said.
“We don’t want a sick man with comorbidities to die in prison. That’s not in the interests of justice. But it is in the interests of justice that he stands his trial.”
Judgment has been reserved toFriday.
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