Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2001-03-28 Reporter: Taryn Lamberti, Farouk Chothia and Wyndham Hartley Editor:

State Investigators Serve Subpoenas

Publication  Business Day
Date 2001-03-28
Reporter Taryn Lamberti, Farouk Chothia and Wyndham Hartley
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DaimlerChrysler SA denies knowing about Yengeni's 4X4

 TWO senior employees of DaimlerChrysler SA have received subpoenas to hand over documents relating to the "Tony Yengeni car" scandal to state investigators probing the R43bn arms deal, according to a source. DaimlerChrysler spokesman Lulama Chakela said last night that she was unaware of this.

She disclosed earlier that European Aeronautic Defence company a sister company of DaimlerChrysler, handed documents to investigators.  

The investigation into allegations that African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Yengeni received a Mercedes Benz ML320 4x4 in 1998 in an apparent attempt to influence the outcome of subcontracts in the arms deal forms part of a larger probe being conducted by the offices of the national directorate of public prosecutions, the public protector, and the auditor-general.  

It is understood that investigators served the subpoenas on the two DaimlerChrysler SA personnel, who might be directors, on Monday. Chakela said an internal investigation by DaimlerChrysler SA found that the car was sold to Daimler Aerospace SA, which was subsequently absorbed into EADS, in the "normal and regular course of dealing with an associated company". DaimlerChrysler SA did not know what then happened to the car, and had no further interest in the matter, Chakela said, and declined to name the employee to whom the car was sold.  

Meanwhile, the political furore surrounding today's parliamentary ethics committee probe into Yengeni's acquisition of the vehicle deepened late yesterday when it was alleged by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that he had also failed to declare a property bought in 1994.  

The allegation was made by DA chief whip Douglas Gibson in a second letter to the chairwoman of the parliamentary ethics committee, Bernard Ncube. This followed a ruling in the National Assembly by Speaker Frene Ginwala that she would not allow any notices of motion on the Yengeni affair because it had been referred to the ethics committee which will meet this morning.  

She appealed to any members with evidence relating to Yengeni and the car to make it available to her, the ethics committee or the committee on public accounts.  

In his second letter, Gibson said the deeds office records showed that in 1994 Yengeni bought a house in Milnerton in Cape Town, but in his 1998 declaration of members interests he recorded only a four-roomed property in Guguletu.  

Ncube, in a letter to Gibson, asked him to explain exactly what he wanted investigated and to supply "copies of contractual agreements". This was in response to Gibson suggesting that if Yengeni had a contractual "arrangement" for the use of such a car it should have been declared. He expressed surprise at being asked for copies of "agreements" when he had referred to "arrangements" and suggested that it was Yengeni who should be asked about agreements.  

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