Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2001-03-27 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Yengeni didn't Declare House

Publication  News24
Date 2001-03-27
Reporter Sapa
Web Link

Cape Town - African National Congress Chief Whip Tony Yengeni might not only have failed to declare a gift of a luxury vehicle, but may also have not disclosed a property he owns in Cape Town, according to the Democratic Alliance. Yengeni was not immediately available for comment.  

In a letter on Tuesday to the chair of Parliament's ethics committee, DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson said Yengeni needed to explain why he failed to declare his private residence in

Tijgerhof in the Register of Members' Interests, as required by the Code of Conduct. "There is an extraordinary omission in that at all material times Mr Yengeni was the registered owner of erf 1825 Cape Town.... which is his private residence.  

"The property was purchased for the sum of R268 000 on 11 August 1994, and a mortgage bond for the sum of R268 000 was registered simultaneously with transfer." Gibson said in the letter to Sister Bernard Ncube (ANC) that Yengeni had disclosed - in 1997, 1998, 1999 and the year 2000 - that he owned property in Guguletu, purchased in 1991, although he appeared not to be the registered owner of this property. "Mr Yengeni needs to explain why he failed to declare the (Tijgerhof) property, as he is required to in terms of the Code of Conduct," the letter says. Click here to read what Yengeni has declared.  

Following weekend newspaper reports, Gibson on Monday asked for the committee to investigate allegations that Yengeni may have failed to disclose a gift of a Mercedes-Benz 4X4 from DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa).  

"Mr Yengeni needs to explain the circumstances surrounding the acquisition by him from a director or employee of DamilerChrysler Aerospace, or any company associated with it, and the alleged fact that a financing agreement was only concluded some seven months later.

"On the face of it, and at the very least, Mr Yengeni appears to have had the free use of an expensive motor vehicle for a lengthy period, without the benefit being disclosed.  

"Members are required to declare all benefits in excess of R350 received by them, and the use of a vehicle, reportedly worth in excess of R350 000, would, in my submission, require disclosure."  

Parliament's committee on ethics and members' interests will meet on Wednesday at 11am to discuss Gibson's complaint.  

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Yengeni dismissed as a pack of lies claims that he had received the car as a kickback from Dasa, which through its successor has a 33 percent stake in Reutech, which won a R220-million radar contract in the controversial arms deal.  

'Nothing sinister about the car'  

"Neither myself or the acquisition of the vehicle has anything to do with the arms procurement deal. Anyone who believes otherwise should present their information to the investigators.  

"There is nothing sinister about the acquisition of the car. The car is still with me and I am paying for it." When asked why he had made his first payment on the vehicle seven months after it was registered in his name, Yengeni said the Sunday Times should substantiate its claim. "I am ready to submit to a formal investigation and will not subject myself to a trial in the media. I'm clean... I have nothing to hide."  

He hoped for a quick investigation so that he could clear his name, Yengeni said.

Protesting his innocence, Yengeni said the allegations were "nothing else but a pack of lies".

The allegations were also raised during a sitting of the National Assembly on Tuesday, but Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala ruled that she would allow no motions on Yengeni's controversial acquisition of the vehicle.  

The only exception was one moved by Gibson, who started reading a motion on the issue at the start of business in the House. Ginwala stopped him mid-way, saying the DA had itself referred the matter to Parliament's joint committee on ethics. She would ask the committee to report to the House before it adjourned for the Easter recess next month.  

Ginwala said MPs had been asking through the media that she act on the matter. But the only official documents she had received, relating to the matter were from the chairman of Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), Dr Gavin Woods.  

The only information they contained on Yengeni and the motor vehicle was an extract from the motor vehicle register, showing it had been registered in his name on October 27 1998.

Ginwala appealed to members with any other evidence to submit it to her, the joint ethics committee, or Scopa.  

Members should not think there was an assumption of guilt.  

At Gibson's request, she allowed him to complete his motion. 

With acknowledgement to Sapa and News24.