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R1.8 billion Bosasa fraud and corruption matter postponed, Angelo Agrizzi’s fitness to stand trial to be analyzed

The Pretoria Specialized Crimes Court on Thursday postponed the R1.8 billion Bosasa fraud and corruption matter to 21 January 2022 to allow the state and the legal representatives of the company’s former chief operations officer (COO), Angelo Agrizzi, to assess whether he will be fit to stand trial.

The spokesperson of the national prosecuting authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate (ID) Sindisiwe Seboka said: “Additionally, that decision in the Palm Ridge Specialized Crimes Court will have a direct impact on this particular matter.”

In September, Agrizzi failed to appear at the Palm Ridge Specialized Crimes Court in a separate matter due to ill health. The state had indicated that it intends to subpoena Agrizzi’s doctor and that it wants its own doctor to examine him. Agrizzi was expected to appear in that court alongside former African National Congress MP Vincent Smith on charges of corruption. The matter is due back in court on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.

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Seboka further said that the warrant of arrest, which was stayed, issued in the previous court appearance against former Bosasa chief financial officer (CFO), Andries van Tonder, due to his ill health was on Thursday “discharged”.

The Bosasa Operations R1.8 billion fraud and corruption matter was previously postponed to allow former Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Commissioner Linda Mti “to inspect the docket”.

Agrizzi, van Tonder, Mti and former DCS CFO Patrick Gillingham are co-accused in the matter relating to four tenders awarded to Bosasa and its subsidiaries between August 2004 and 2007, which were valued at over R1.8 billion.

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The tenders were for providing catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installing perimeter fencing and supplying a television system and monitoring equipment.

In 2019, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who was in September this year granted a three months extension to finalize his report, heard from a former lead investigator of the special investigating unit (SIU) that at the time of his testimony at the commission, he had gotten wind that DCS had not ended its contractual relationship with Bosasa.

This despite a 2009 SIU report which made several findings and recommendations that the contracts should be investigated further and prosecutions should get underway, SIU former investigator Clint Oellermann told the commission.

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The commission also heard from Oellermann and Agrizzi that within two days of the issuing of the SIU report in 2009 officials at Bosasa had illegally gotten their hands on it.

Oellermann told the commission that according to the SIU report, Mti and Gillingham had been bribed.

Meanwhile, the DCS in early 2019 served Bosasa with a notice to terminate the catering services contract following explosive testimony at the state capture commission.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services in July that year confirmed that the contract had been terminated.

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