Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2006-05-18 Reporter: Zelda Venter

Pollsmoor Beckons as Yengeni Exercises Last Option to Avoid Prison



Cape Times




Zelda Venter

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Pollsmoor Prison is waiting to welcome former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni if he loses his current legal battle to have his prison sentence overturned.

Judges Eberhardt Bertelsmann and Ferdi Preller yesterday agreed to extend Yengeni's bail pending a petition for leave to appeal to the President of the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein and his subsequent appeal, if the petition was successful.

They, however, stressed that if either of the above remedies, which are his last options, failed, Yengeni must report to Pollsmoor Prison within 72 hours.

His bail was also increased from R10 000 to R30 000 and Yengeni had to pay the additional R20 000 by 5pm yesterday.

He must, in the meantime, report on Tuesdays and Fridays to the Milnerton police station between 6am and 6pm. He must also surrender his passport.

This is the last round in Yengeni's desperate bid to stay out of jail and if he is unsuccessful, he will have to start serving his four-year sentence, of which he must spend eight months behind bars.

The Pretoria High Court in November last year confirmed his sentence imposed by the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court following his fraud conviction.

Bertelsmann at the time commented that his sentence was lenient, but Yengeni vowed to fight on.

In April, Bertelsmann and Preller refused him leave to appeal to the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein.

His conviction stems from his acceptance of a 47% discount on a luxury 4x4 vehicle from a company which was a shareholder of one of the potential suppliers in the government's multibillion-rand arms deal.

Yengeni, who was involved in the arms deal, also did not disclose this benefit to parliament.

Yengeni claims that a non-custodial sentence had been agreed upon between lawyers, and has said he believed his appeal could succeed.

With acknowledgement to Zelda Venter and Cape Times.