Yengeni gets High Court Hearing
|Reporter||Mariette le Roux, Sapa|
The Pretoria High Court will next week consider a bid by African National Congress MO and former Chief Whip Tony Yengeni as well as businessman Michael Woerfel to have fraud and corruption charges against them dismissed.
This comes after Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe ruled that a review application by the two men could be argued before him in a week's time.
Yengeni and Woerfel are seeking a review of Specialised Commercial Crimes Court magistrate Bill Moyses' ruling on Monday that the State's charge sheet was adequate. They claim the charge sheet did not disclose any crime.
Defence lawyers approached the High Court with an urgent application on Tuesday after Moyses in the morning turned down their request for a postponement pending the review proceedings.
They asked Ngoepe to order the postponement himself, saying their clients would suffer a grave injustice if forced to go ahead with the trial.
Review proceedings could take several months.
Ngoepe made no ruling on the request for a postponement, instead setting an early date for the review. He ordered the defence to file its review application by Thursday, and the State to respond by Friday.
Matters in the commercial crimes court stood down on Tuesday morning to allow the defence to approach the High Court. Should their bid be unsuccessful, the trial in that court could get under way by Wednesday of next week.
Yengeni is charged with corruption for buying a luxury Mercedes-Benz 4X4 at a 47 percent 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 Mariette le Roux, Sapa and Business Day.