Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2002-07-16 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Court Refuses to let the Benz Brothers off the Hook


Publication  Mail & Guardian
Date 2002-07-16
Reporter Sapa
Web Link


The Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court refused on Tuesday to postpone the corruption trial of former African National Congress Chief Whip Tony Yengeni and businessman Michael Woerfel.

Defence counsel then indicated they would bring an urgent application to the Pretoria High Court to contest magistrate Bill Moyses' refusal of a postponement.

Yengeni and Woerfel's lawyers on Monday requested the postponement to allow them time to ask the High Court to uphold their objections to the State's charge sheet - which they claim did not specify an offence.

They said a grave injustice would be done if the postponement was not granted. Moyses, however, on Tuesday said he was of the opinion that no great injustice would result if the matter proceeded.

On Monday he dismissed the pair's objections to the charge sheet, saying he was satisfied the State had provided sufficient detail.

Yengeni is charged with corruption for buying a luxurious Mercedes-Benz 4X4 at a 47% discount in return for allegedly using his influence to "market" the products of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG. He faces an alternative charge of fraud for failing to disclose the benefit to Parliament. He was at the time the chairman of Parliament's joint standing committee on defence.

Woerfel, then managing director of DaimlerChrysler's predecessor - the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (Eads) -- is charged with corruption for arranging the car deal. Both face a charge of fraud in relation to alleged false representations made in the agreement of sale.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Mail & Guardian.