Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2001-03-27 Reporter: Wyndham Hartley, Farouk Chothia and Sapa Editor:

Defence Specialists Cast Doubt on Claims against Yengeni

Publication  Business Day
Date 2001-03-27
Reporter Wyndham Hartley, Farouk Chothia and Sapa
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DEFENCE specialists do not believe that African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Tony Yengeni could have influenced the awarding of contracts in the R43bn arms deal when he was chairman of Parliament's joint standing committee on defence.  

They have also pointed out that DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa), which is alleged to have given Yengeni a car, lost its two major bids to supply jet aircraft and sophisticated radar equipment in the arms deal.  

Janes Defence Weekly correspondent Helmut Romer Heitman said: "It would have been very difficult for him to influence the arms deal in any meaningful way."

Another source close to the defence review process said the issuing of the car was more likely to have been in the context of "intelligence gathering" by bidders going for large contracts.  

DaimlerChrysler SA spokeswoman Annelise van der Laan confirmed yesterday a senior Dasa employee bought the car which was later registered in Yengeni's name. The matter was the subject of an internal investigation.  

Parliament's registrar of MPs' interests, Fazela Mahomed, said that Yengeni did not include the car in his annual declaration in November 1998. The car was licensed in his name at the end of October. In terms of the code of conduct, MPs are required to disclose gifts worth more than R350.  

Meanwhile, the three agencies investigating allegations of corruption in the arms deal national public prosecutions director Bulelani Ngcuka, Auditor-General Shauket Fakie and Public Protector Selby Baqwa decided at a meeting yesterday to hold "certain aspects" of their investigation in public.  

With acknowledgement to Wyndham Hartley, Farouk Chothia, Sapa and Business Day.