DaimlerChrysler SA Probes Yengeni Car Claim
DAIMLERCHRYSLER SA has
launched an internal investigation into claims that African National Congress
chief whip Tony Yengeni received a luxury 4X4 vehicle which was ordered as a
“staff vehicle” by a company linked to the R43bn arms deal, a spokeswoman
said on Sunday.
company’s media manager, Lulama Chakela, sought to distance DaimlerChrysler SA
from the allegations saying: “Please understand, once the car was sold to DASA
(DaimlerChrysler Aeronautics SA), Daimler Chrysler SA’s responsibility ends
there. What happens beyond that is not our responsibility.”
DaimlerChrysler had launched an internal investigation if this was the case, she
said: “Because people like you are asking these questions.” The Sunday Times
newspaper reported that the vehicle in question was a Mercedes-Benz ML320 4X4,
totalling R359 000 without extras, when Yengeni took possession of it nearly
three years ago.
from DaimlerChrysler, which the Sunday Times has in its possession, show the 4x4
was ordered as a “private staff vehicle” by DASA. It was dispatched from the
car manufacturer’s East London plant on September 15, 1998, and arrived at the
company stockyard on October 19. DASA, through a joint venture, secured a
contract to supply tracking radar for the corvettes bought in the arms deal
Chakela told Sapa on
Sunday she was not in a position to give further information on the internal
probe, especially as documents had been subpoenaed. “We don’t have the
information.” Asked how they would conduct an internal probe if the
information was no longer available, she said: “We will see if there is any
other trail we can go to.”
Chakela also sought to
distance her company further, saying DASA no longer existed. According to the
Sunday Times, DASA was incorporated two years ago into the European Aeronautic
Defence and Company (EADS). Chakela said DaimlerChrysler South Africa could not
comment on the matter as EADS “reported to Germany”.
said ge will consider his legal options following the Sunday Times allegations.
“I will not submit myself to a witch-hunt by the Sunday Times,” he said in a
statement. “There is a due process of law underway into the so-called arms
deal. I respect this process, I will submit myself to it, as well as fully
co-operate with the investigation.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations made
by the newspaper today, I shall ask my lawyers for advice on the contents of the
article,” he said.
With acknowledgement to Sapa and Business Day.