Former ANC MP Vincent Smith dragged to court for Bosasa corruption

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Former ANC MP Vincent Smith is expected to appear in court on Wednesday for allegedly accepting bribes from corruption-accused company Bosasa.

Smith handed himself into the police and is due to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court.

Former Bosasa boss turned whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi is also expected to be charged along with Smith, but will not be appearing in court as he is sick, according to an NPA source.

Smith will be charged with corruption relating to two payments totalling R671 000 paid to his company, Euro Blitz 48, by Bosasa in 2015 and 2016 and for the installation of security cameras and an electric fence at his Roodepoort home also by Bosasa. The value of the installation is estimated at R40 000.

The fraud charge stems from the deliberate non-disclosure of the benefits from Bosasa in Parliament’s register of members’ interests, which requires that any gift or donation above the value of R1 500 be declared.

Additionally, a separate case will be launched for tax fraud, News24 understands.

During investigations by the Investigative Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Revenue Service, it emerged that Smith had failed to fully declare his personal income and the income of Euro Blitz.

An investigation into roughly R22 million which Euro Blitz received and failed to appropriately declare to the taxman, is underway.

In September 2018, News24 reported on the payments and installation of security systems at Smith’s home.

Smith has held that the payments were loans from Agrizzi and that he was not aware the funds had come from Bosasa.

He said the money was used to pay for his daughter’s tuition fees at Aberystwyth University in Wales.

According to the charge sheet, which News24 has seen, Smith accepted the payments from Bosasa in exchange for Smith not pursuing accountability over Bosasa’s multi-billion-rand contracts with the Department of Correctional Services.

Smith was previously the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, and in this role was initially vocal in his opposition to the Bosasa contracts.

In 2009, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found that Bosasa had paid bribes to former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti and former correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham.

The SIU report was handed over to the NPA for prosecution in 2010. In 2019, the NPA finally acted on the report and charged Mti, Gillingham, Agrizzi as well as Andries van Tonder and Frans Vorster – both former Bosasa managers – with tender fraud and corruption in relation to correctional services contracts in 2004 and 2005.

Smith’s opposition to Bosasa in parliamentary portfolio committee sessions died down and he later recommended that outsourcing of prisons food contracts remain outsourced.

This was a contract long held by Bosasa, without a feasibility study in place.

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