Former MP Vincent Smith’s R28.8m corruption case postponed

The corruption case against former ANC MP Vincent Smith has been postponed to February next year.

Smith appeared briefly before the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday where his pretrial conference was scheduled to be held.

During the proceedings, the court heard that the defence was not ready to proceed with the pretrial, leading up to the postponement.

“The matter has been postponed to 23 February. The matter was postponed due to the defence not being ready to do the pretrial,” said National Prosecuting Authority’s investigating directorate’s spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka.

The charges

Smith faces charges of tax evasion, corruption, and the breach of Financial Intelligence Centre Act spanning from March 2009 to 2018.

The charges emanate from the alleged concealment of R28-million of taxable income.

Also accused in the matter is former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi, who is alleged to have paid kickbacks to Smith in exchange for his political influence and protection.

“Smith stands accused in his capacity as well as representative capacity for his company Euroblitz 48,” Seboka said

“He is charged with corruption for the gratifications he received from Bosasa in the form of security upgrades to his home in Gauteng.

“He also faces corruption charges by accepting further gratifications from Waterfall Golf Estate and Clidet 69.

“The accused also faces charges for accepting cash transferred into his bank account and his company from Bosasa and other people unknown to the state.

“Additional charges include failure to disclose to parliament’s Register of Members’ Interest the gratifications, cash deposits, and money that was paid to him by Waterfall Golf Estate and Clidet 69.

“The investigating directorate was able to enrol the further tax charges through help from the South African Revenue Service.”

Agrizzi’s fitness for trial

Previously, the matter was separated and now Smith and Agrizzi face two separate trials. Agrizzi’s trial has been faced with multiple postponements due to his illness.

In September, the Pretoria High Court ruled that he be referred for mental health evaluation to determine his fitness to stand trial.

Presiding judge David Makhoba emphasised the court’s preference to have experts assess Agrizzi’s fitness referencing earlier statements from neurosurgeon Dr Herman Edeling.

Edeling assessed the accused in March 2022 and concluded that Agrizzi had suffered brain damage, impeding his meaningful participation in court proceedings.

“Taking into account the evidence that was led during the inquiry, especially the evidence of Dr Edeling, this court is in doubt as to whether Mr Agrizzi will be able to follow and contribute meaningfully to his defence during trial,” read the ruling.

In the meantime, Agrizzi has been allowed to attend proceedings virtually.

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