'Cop nervous about Yengeni'

2009-06-25 22:18

Cape Town - A police constable was nervous when questioned about his arrest of former ANC chief whip Toni Yengeni for alleged drunken driving, the Parow Regional Court heard on Thursday.

This was the evidence of Police Director Johannes Brand about his involvement in the investigation into criminal charges against the former Goodwood police station commissioner Siphiwo Hewana.

Brand was questioned by defence attorney Greg Duncan about an interview he and Commissioner Raymond Ntobela had with Constable Charles Japhta regarding the time of Yengeni's arrest.

Interview done in private

"At Japhta's request, we did the interview in the privacy of an office at the police station, rather than in the open charge office," Brand testified.

"He was nervous, and feared that everyone at the Goodwood police station would be talking about him afterwards."

Prosecutor Barry van der Berg alleged that Japhta and fellow constable Jeremy Voskuil, the two police officials involved in the Yengeni arrest, were unlawfully requested by Hewana to change the time of Yengeni's arrest from 12:03 on November 26, 2007, to 21:00 the previous night.

At the time of his arrest, Yengeni had been out on parole from a prison sentence for fraud. The parole conditions required him to be home by 22:00, and banned him from consuming liquor.

Brand said he and Ntobela received instructions during the mid-afternoon of the Saturday after Yengeni's arrest, from the Western Cape provincial commissioner, to investigate the conflict in the time of the arrest.

Searched for breathalyser equipment

At the Goodwood police station, Hewana was asked why it had taken Japhta and Voskuil a few hours to get Yengeni to a district surgeon for a blood test, after the arrest.

Brand told the court: "Hewana said Japhta and Voskuil had told him they had first gone all over the Peninsula in search of breathalyser equipment, before taking Yengeni for the blood test.

"We later asked Japhta the same question, and got exactly the same answer."

Brand said while they questioned Japhta in the privacy of the office, Ntobela asked him if he was covering for anyone.

Japhta had then told them of his visit to Hewana's office, with Voskuil, where they had been asked to change the time of the arrest.

Hewana faced charges of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, incitement to commit perjury and interfering with Yengeni's drunk driving investigation.