DA to report Vincent Smith to ethics committee over alleged Bosasa payments

The Democratic Alliance will report senior ANC MP Vincent Smith to Parliament's ethics committee following a Sunday report that Smith allegedly received payments from facilities company Bosasa.

It was reported on Sunday that long-serving MP Smith was paid at least R670 000 by Bosasa over the past three years.

He had also allegedly accepted the installation of electric fences and a high-end CCTV system at his home worth roughly R200 000, and R100 000 in cash from Bosasa chief executive officer Gavin Watson every month.

READ: Bosasa paid top ANC MP

Smith confirmed on Saturday that he received the funds, but denied knowledge that the money was paid by Bosasa.

He said he had entered into a personal loan agreement with former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, and was led to believe Agrizzi was lending him the funds out of his own pocket. The money was intended to pay for his daughter's tertiary education in Wales.

He also rejected allegations that the money was a bribe, saying he had not given Bosasa any service or favour in return, and produced bank statements confirming the August 2016 deposit.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen on Sunday said they would report Smith - who was recently appointed to the justice and correctional services portfolio committee - to Parliament's joint ethics committee.

Contracts worth over R10bn

"Bosasa has secured contracts with several government departments worth over R10bn including the Department of Correctional Services," Steenhuisen said.

"Smith had oversight of this department when he chaired the correctional services portfolio committee in 2014, as well as through his membership of the standing committee on public accounts, and as an alternate member on the Justice and Correctional Services from 2014 to August 2018.

"If he did indeed receive money from Bosasa, this would represent a serious conflict of interest and be highly inappropriate," Steenhuisen said.

Steenhuisen said it would amount to unethical conduct, especially since he had not declared any such benefit in the Register of Members' Interests, which the DA had perused for the last three financial years.

If found guilty, Smith would be ill-equipped to chair any portfolio committee, Steenhuisen continued.

"If these allegations are true, they have the potential to further undermine the institution of Parliament and the public’s already dwindling trust in its ability to perform as set out in recent survey results presented to the chief Whips’ Forum."

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