More wreck woes for Tony Yengeni
Johannesburg - ANC bigwig Tony Yengeni’s troubles with flashy cars and the estate of murdered mining magnate Brett Kebble seem to have no end.
The trustees, who claim that Yengeni owes the Kebble estate R260 000, are reviving their inquiries into his wealth after recent disclosures in City Press about the politician’s illegally acquired company directorships and his fleet of cars worth several million rands.
Now City Press has learned that an insurance company paid out R1.3m after a luxury Maserati GranTurismo belonging to Yengeni was wrecked in a high-speed collision three months ago.
Records indicate that Yengeni smashed into a barrier on the N1 near Cape Town on August 22 after he hit an “enormous puddle of water in the roadway” and lost control of the car.
It is the latest in a string of insurance claims apparently paid out by insurer Santam over the past five years for damage to vehicles owned by Yengeni and his wife, Lumka, an ANC MP.
Yengeni – who is listed as the registered owner of two luxury Maseratis worth an estimated R3.4m – would not be drawn on the matter. “I prefer not to comment,” he said.
His lawyer, Brian Kahn, has also refused to discuss the legal tussle with the trustees of the Kebble estate.
Hans Klopper, one of the joint trustees of the Kebble estate, confirmed this week that their investigations into six payments allegedly made by Kebble to Yengeni between May 2003 and December 2004 were “continuing”, and that the trustees were watching reports about Yengeni’s lavish lifestyle “with some interest”.
City Press has learned that since 2005 Santam has paid out no fewer than nine claims for damage to vehicles owned by the Yengenis, including a Mercedes-Benz, a BMW M5, a BMW X6 and a BMW X5.
Lumka Yengeni is listed as the policy holder. She did not respond to requests for an interview.
In August and September this year the company paid out R19 000 for damage to a Volkswagen Eos, more than R7 000 for a BMW X5, R8 700 for damage to a BMW X6 and R1.3m for the Maserati.
City Press understands that the wrecked Maserati is in Santam’s possession and the company has not finalised its investigation.
A spokesperson for Santam, Daniella Charles, said that “although we would like to be of assistance and answer your questions, we cannot share any policy-holder information as it is confidential in nature”.
David Sampson, the head of transport network information at Cape Town’s department of transport, confirmed the Maserati accident this week and said an accident report showed that Tony Yengeni was the driver.
This is not the first time that a Maserati linked to Yengeni has been in the headlines. In October 2005, Cape Town newspapers reported that a blue Maserati belonging to a “TS Yengeni” had allegedly crashed into a Mercedes-Benz in the city earlier in the year. At the time, Yengeni denied being involved, claiming he had never owned a Maserati.
A week after the incident, ownership of the Maserati was reportedly transferred to Kebble.
In addition to the R260 000 the trustees of the Kebble estate are seeking, Yengeni also allegedly received R840 000 via a shelf company, Tuscan Mood, at Kebble’s instruction, over an 18-month period from July 2003.
Yengeni was convicted of fraud in 2003 for failing to declare a discount on a Mercedes 4x4 he received from an arms dealer. He served only four months of a four-year sentence. Ten months after his release he was arrested for drunk driving, but he was later acquitted.