Yengeni Trial Tight on Space
Pretoria - Spectators at the trial of the two men accused of fraud and corruption in the controversial, multi-billion-rand weapons transaction will have to sit packed like sardines because so many legal representatives have been co-opted by the parties.
An extra table and court bench will have to be provided in the cramped Pretoria trade court for the eight legal representatives in the case against former African National Congress chief whip Tony Yengeni and his co-accused, Michael Woerfel.
Yengeni, Woerfel and the State each have a junior and senior advocate. In addition, Yengeni and Woerfel each have an extra attorney to take notes.
The space in court is limited. There is no room for extra chairs. Spectators will have to sit packed like sardines, as the court is too small for people to remain standing.
Yengeni and Woerfel, the suspended European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (Eads) managing director, will plead to charges of fraud and corruption on Tuesday.
The State alleges Woerfel sold a Mercedes-Benz ML320 to Yengeni for R182 563 on behalf of DaimlerChrysler in October 1998. The selling price then was R349 895.
Yengeni was the chairperson of parliament's standing committee on defence at the time. He allegedly promised Woerfel that he would use his influence to swing the controversial weapons transaction in Eads's favour.
Both men earlier objected to the charge sheet. This will be argued in front of magistrate W W P Moyses when the trial starts.
They allege the state cannot prove Yengeni was involved in clinching the controversial weapons deal in Eads's favour.
With acknowledgements to Sonja Carstens and Beeld.