Former chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services Vincent Smith has testified about his relationship with Bosasa executives Gavin Watson and Angelo Agrizzi.
Friday saw former chairperson of the portfolio committee on correctional services Vincent Smith take the stand at the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Smith testified about his relationship with Bosasa executives Gavin Watson and Angelo Agrizzi.
He talked about his dealings with them and the benefits he received – including a hefty loan and a hired car.
‘It was a loan from Agrizzi, not Bosasa’
Speaking on a loan he received from former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi totalling more than R600 000, Smith said the agreement was made with Agrizzi personally and not with Bosasa.
READ | Loan agreement was with Angelo Agrizzi, not Bosasa, Vincent Smith testifies
The loan was for his daughter’s university tuition and was paid in two separate payments in 2015 and 2016.
When asked by evidence leader advocate Viwe Notshe why he borrowed money from “a company that is reported to have been involved in corruption”, Smith replied that he did not borrow money from any company.
“A loan agreement was between me and Angelo Agrizzi and there is correspondence by way of SMS,” Smith said.
He added that Agrizzi had asked him to help his unemployed son, saying “I do this all the time in my constituency”.
“My loan was with Angelo. Nowhere in the records of the deposit is there any reference to Bosasa.
“I had gone to Angelo Agrizzi on the basis of the relationship we created. It was never ever a Bosasa agreement.”
Smith added that, in terms of the contract, he would repay Agrizzi.
‘I should have declared it’
A section of Smith’s testimony focused on his failure to declare certain benefits given to him by Bosasa executives Agrizzi and the company’s late CEO, Gavin Watson.
Of particular concern was the loan given to him by Agrizzi, as well as a vehicle hired by Bosasa and lent to Smith’s daughter.
Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked Smith whether he thought about declaring this loan.
He agreed with Zondo that the loan should have been declared.
“Of course, somebody listening to your evidence, and having listened to Mr Agrizzi’s version about this payment, might say the reason why you didn’t disclose it is because it was not a legitimate loan – there was no loan. If it was a loan you regarded as legitimate you would have easily disclosed it,” Zondo said.
Smith replied that he “could have been incorrect” but the transaction reflected as a loan within the company.
Smith also said he had approached Watson for a car that his daughter could use as a “little run-around” but did not know it would be a car hired by Bosasa and not Watson himself.
This too, Smith admitted, he did not declare to Parliament.
Bosasa meeting was normal
Following a 2009 meeting between Smith and Bosasa officials, during a time when the company had received negative publicity, Smith told the commission there…
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