DA to lay charges against embattled Vincent Smith
THE WOES of embattled senior ANC MP Vincent Smith, pictured, deepened yesterday after his party acceded to his request not to chair parliamentary committees and the DA announced it will lay criminal charges against him.
Smith voluntarily excused himself from chairing Parliament committees after allegations emerged that he was paid at least R670 000 by controversial facility management company Bosasa over the past three years and had accepted security installations at his home valued at R200 000.
Smith chairs the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice and the committee on the Auditor-General.
He also co-chairs the constitutional review committee, looking into the possible amendment of section 25 of the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
DA MP John Steenhuisen, who reported Smith to Parliament’s ethics committee, said the DA would today lay criminal charges against Smith, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, former SA Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni and Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla.
“Criminal charges, in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Act 12 of 2004), relate to reports that they unduly accepted security upgrades to their homes from controversial facilities management company Bosasa,” Steenhuisen said.
In a statement shortly after reports of the donations, Smith admitted that he received payments from Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi which he said were for a personal loan to cover his daughter’s university fees, but denied receiving CCTV cameras at his home.
He said he had received R220 000 in 2015 and R395 000 in 2016 from Agrizzi as personal loans.
The ANC’s parliamentary caucus political committee said it had accepted a request by Smith to be placed on temporary suspension pending investigation into claims of corruption.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said Smith would remain an ordinary member of Parliament but would not chair any committees.
“Last week, comrade Smith requested the leadership of the ANC caucus to allow him to step aside from chairing any parliamentary committee until the investigation into allegations against him which have surfaced in the public domain have been concluded by the ethics committee.
“The political committees agreed to grant Vincent Smith permission to step aside from chairing any portfolio committee in Parliament until the finalisation of this case.
“Having allowed him to step aside as chairperson, he will remain an ordinary member of all committees he is a member of,” Mthembu said.