Publication: Issued: Date: 2002-07-26 Reporter: Editor:

Yengeni Trial Postponed to 2003


Date 2002-07-26
Reporter Sapa 
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The fraud and corruption trial of former African National Congress chief whip Tony Yengeni and businessman Michael Woerfel was on Friday postponed in Pretoria's Commercial Crimes Court to next year.

The trial is to resume on January 16, staggered over three months.

Magistrate Bill Moyses ruled that the trial be conducted from January 16 to 23, then again from February 11 to 21, and from March 19 to 25.

The two men on Friday pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.

Yengeni faces a charge of corruption for allegedly buying a luxury Mercedes Benz 4x4 at a 47 percent discount in return for using his influence to "market" the products of Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG or Daimler-Benz Aerospace SA.

He faces an alternative charge of fraud for not disclosing the benefit to Parliament.

Woerfel, then head of Daimler-Benz's Pretoria representative office, is charged with corruption for allegedly arranging the deal.

Daimler-Benz was the manufacturer of the AT2000, which was at the time being considered with two other aircraft in South Africa's search for an advanced light fighter aircraft in terms of the arms acquisition process.

Both men face a charge of fraud for alleged false representations made in the agreement of sale drawn up in terms of the car deal.

The trial was initially scheduled to run from July 9 to Friday, but was delayed by extensive legal wrangling over the charge sheet - which the defence contended did not disclose an offence.

Moyses earlier this month dismissed arguments by the defence that most of the charges should be quashed.

This led to the defence bringing a review application before the Pretoria High Court, which was dismissed on Wednesday.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and