Publication: Independent Online Issued: Date: 2004-05-11 Reporter: Sapa

Yengeni's Appeal Delayed



Independent Online

Date 2004-05-11



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An appeal by former African National Congress chief whip Tony Yengeni against a four-year prison sentence for fraud was postponed to July in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday.

Yengeni sought the delay to enable him to obtain a full copy of the record of his trial on charges related to his acceptance of a near 50 percent discount on a luxury 4X4 Mercedes Benz.

He legal team argued on Tuesday that Yengeni had switched lawyers recently, and that his new representatives did not have the full record. It was the appellant's duty to place the record before the appeal court.

The state did not oppose the application for a delay, and matter was postponed to July 26 for the reconstruction of the record.

A date for the hearing of the appeal would be determined on that date. But if Yengeni missed the deadline, the state would be entitled to place the matter on the roll at its discretion, the court ruled.

Yengeni was sentenced last March to four years in jail after pleading guilty on a charge of defrauding parliament for failing to disclose the discount.

He was acquitted on related corruption charges in terms of a plea agreement with the state.

The car deal was arranged by Yengeni's co-accused, Michael Woerfel - at the time head of the Pretoria representative office of Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG - a bidder in the government's arms acquisition process.

Yengeni was the then-chairman of parliament's joint standing committee on defence - which oversaw the arms deal. All charges against Woerfel were eventually withdrawn.

Yengeni is out on R10 000 bail.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Independent Online.