The Pretoria high court has ruled that former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi be referred for mental observation to determine his fitness to stand trial in the R1.8bn Bosasa tender fraud case.
This decision comes after Agrizzi appeared virtually before Judge David Makhoba on Thursday. Since 2020, Agrizzi has not been able to attend two court cases where he is accused due to ill health, resulting in numerous postponements in his case with co-accused individuals.
In addition to the Bosasa tender fraud case, Agrizzi is also facing corruption charges in a separate trial with former ANC MP Vincent Smith. The Investigating Directorate has alleged that Agrizzi, through Bosasa, offered Smith gratifications in the form of security upgrades to his Gauteng home.
Smith allegedly accepted cash transferred into his personal bank account via the bank account of his company, Euroblitz. It is further claimed that Agrizzi sought Smith’s political influence as an MP for the ANC to protect Bosasa from accountability for corrupt officials in the Department of Correctional Services, who awarded the company contracts worth billions of rand.
Earlier this year, the Pretoria High Court conducted an inquiry to determine whether Agrizzi had intentionally avoided attending the trial. A neurosurgeon appointed by Agrizzi’s legal team concluded that Agrizzi suffered a brain injury, rendering him incapable of following court proceedings.
Judge Makhoba emphasized that it was not for the court to decide whether Agrizzi is mentally fit to stand trial; this responsibility lies with professionals. He declared that it is the state’s duty to ensure Agrizzi’s safe transfer to a mental institution and to ensure he takes his medication.
The case in Pretoria revolves around four tenders awarded by the correctional services department to Bosasa and its subsidiaries between August 2004 and 2007. These tenders encompassed catering and training services, installation of CCTV cameras, installation of perimeter fencing, and the supply of a television system and monitoring equipment. The court has postponed the matter until October 31 to await the results of Agrizzi’s mental fitness test.