Vincent Smith, the former ANC MP embroiled in R800 000 bribery allegations related to the infamous Bosasa state capture scandal, has pleaded not guilty in his fraud and corruption charges.
On Thursday, at the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court, sitting in Palmridge, Smith made his first court appearance after he had handed himself over for arrest at the Alberton police station in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
Smith and his company, Euroblitz 48, which is the second accused in the matter, are each facing a corruption charge, while the former MP is also facing a fraud count.
The state has indicated that a third suspect, who the M&G has established is a former high-ranking Bosasa executive, will be joined to the case when it returns on October 14.
From 2009 to 2014, Smith chaired Parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services, the department in which a more than R838-million catering contract was given to Bosasa.
The former ANC MP asserted that he would plead not guilty to all charges. “I am informed that I’m accused of having committed the crime of corruption. I deny the aforementioned allegation in the strongest terms, and I intend to plead not guilty in the envisaged trial.
“I will stand my trial and I’m determined to prove my innocence,” Smith said in an affidavit read out by his lawyer, advocate Nthabiseng Mokoena.
“I have faith in and trust the South African legal system and that the facts will show that I’m not guilty of the charges levelled against me,” he added.
Smith said that he was now a pensioner, and was surviving on a gross monthly income of R21 000.
The former MP made an appearance last month at the Zondo commission, where he conceded that Angelo Agrizzi, the self-confessed racist and societal delinquent, had “loaned” him R660 000 in two tranches to pay for his daughter’s tertiary studies in Wales in the UK.
Agrizzi is the former chief operations officer at Bosasa. He also appeared at the Zondo commission, in January and October 2019, claiming that Bosasa had allegedly paid millions of rands in bribes to secure lucrative government contracts.
Smith was released on R30 000 bail, which was unopposed, and will return to court on October 14.