DA opens case against Yengeni

2010-11-01 15:04

The Democratic Alliance laid charges against ANC veteran Tony Yengeni today for serving as a director of six companies, though by law his jail sentence for fraud precludes him from doing so.

DA Member of Parliament (MP) Tim Harris said the police have undertaken to investigate a potential fraud case against the former ANC chief whip for holding the posts.

The Companies Act disqualifies anybody who was jailed for theft, fraud, forgery or perjury from being a company director, unless the high court sets aside the disqualification.

Rapport and City Press claimed yesterday that Yengeni was still serving as a company director despite his four-year jail sentence for fraud linked to South Africa’s multi-billion rand arms deal.

A probe at the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) revealed that Yengeni served as a director for Auburn Avenue Trading 88, Circle Way Trading 231, Duoflex, Abrina 2354, White Rag Investments and Cream Mag Trading.

He joined three of the companies in 2005, before he was sent to jail the following year, and the remaining three in 2008.

City Press quoted Yengeni as spurning the notion that he had to ask the courts for special permission to serve as a company director. “What has the high court to do with my life,” he reportedly asked.

“Maybe the law stipulates certain things. But the high court ....I don’t think they feature. I don’t have to ask permission from them to deal with my life.”

The identity number listed for Yengeni in Cipro’s records indicate a birthdate seven months earlier in 1954 than that given for him in the Who’s Who. His family today declined to divulge the correct date.

Harris said he had no doubt that the Yengeni was indeed a director of the six companies listed in the records. He said Cipro had a legal obligation to update its register of disqualified directors, and a failure to do so may have allowed Yengeni to hold directorships.

“If the South African Police Service do find that Yengeni has contravened the law then it would appear as if a failure to properly establish or update the Disqualified Directors Register may have allowed him to get away with it.

“This could either be the fault of the registrar of the court or the registrar of companies at Cipro.”

Harris said the DA would ask the minister of justice whether the judgment in the Yengeni case was sent to Cipro as required by law and the minister of trade and industry whether Yengeni was duly listed on Cipro’s list of disqualified directors.

Section 441 (1d) of the Companies Act makes it a crime punishable with up to two years in prison to serve as a company director if a person had been convicted of fraud or corruption.

Yengeni’s prison sentence for fraud prevented him from becoming an MP last year, but he has subsequently been appointed to set up the ANC’s political school.

He served only a few months of the sentence.?

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