Smith determined to prove his innocence, says state won't find any 'objective facts' against him


Former ANC MP Vincent Smith says he will cooperate with police in their investigation and that he will stand trial, determined to prove his innocence.

In his affidavit read out before the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Thursday shortly after his arrest, Smith motivated for why he should be released on bail after being charged with fraud and corruption.

"I have faith in and trust the South African legal system and that the facts will show that I am not guilty of the charges levelled against me," Smith said.

"I believe that the State will not be able to present any objective facts that I planned or intended to commit any acts of corruption."

While Smith asked for bail to be set at R20,000, the State motivated for R30,000 bail which was granted by magistrate P Venter.

In his affidavit, Smith rejected the charges against him, saying he had "no evidentiary knowledge which may exist with regard to the allegations levelled against me".

Testify

"In any event, I believe that whatever such evidence may be, it is in the possession of the police," he added.

"It is safely secured and I have no access to it thereto. I undertake not to interfere with any further investigations."

Smith added that while he did not know any witnesses who would testify in the case against him, he would not communicate with any of them.

"My continued incarceration can only prejudice me and creates no benefit for the State," Smith said.

He added that he had "several responsibilities" to attend to, including drafting papers for the commission of inquiry into state capture.

"For that reason I have no desire to evade justice."

Smith's corruption charges related to a CCTV and security system installed at his home in October 2014 and two payments totaling R671,000 to his company, Euro Blitz, in 2015 and 2016.

The payments were initiated by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi.

The fraud charge related to Smith's failure to declare the gifts in the parliamentary register of members' interests.

It's alleged Smith acted in a manner that favoured Bosasa during his tenure as chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services, allegedly in exchange for the benefits from Bosasa.

Speaking to the media after Smith's case was heard, his lawyer Yousha Tayob said Smith had already given evidence at the Zondo commission.

"We are of the view that no crime was committed."

While Agrizzi was also charged on Thursday, he was not present in court due to poor health.

Tayob maintained that the payments in the Euro Blitz matter was a loan of "substantially less" than R800 000.

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