New Yengeni conviction should end his inclusion on Defence Review Committee: DA

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Defence Review Committee (SRC) member Tony Yengeni has been convicted of breaching the Companies Act on four counts. It is Yengeni’s second criminal conviction in nine years and the opposition Democratic Alliance that brought he charges says it raises questions about his appropriateness as a political leader.

“On November 1, 2010 I laid a criminal charge against Mr Yengeni at Cape Town Central Police Station after he apparently retained illegal directorships in six companies, in contravention of Section 218 of the Companies Act, No 61 of 1973,” the party’s shadow minister for trade and industry, Tim Harris, said in a statement.

The Act states that any person who has been convicted of fraud or corruption shall be disqualified from being appointed or acting as a director of a company. Section 441(1d) of the Act defines the penalty for such an offence as a “fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment”. The state company registrar, CIPRO, indicated that, despite his corruption conviction, Yengeni was a director of six companies.
“Shortly after I laid the charge Mr Yengeni resigned the six directorships and the South African Police upgraded the inquiry into a full investigation assigning the case number: CAS1123/1/2011. Now that Mr Yengeni has been convicted, I will be following up with the South African Police and the National Prosecuting Authority to find out the status of his additional two company directorships.

The Afrikaans daily, Beeld, reports Yengeni paid a R6000 fine.
“Mr Yengeni remains the leader of the ANC’s “Political School” and sits on its highest decision-making bodies, the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee,” Harris added. “I call on the ANC to take action against Mr Yengeni, following this second criminal conviction. There have always been those in the ANC who claimed that Mr Yengeni has served his sentence and should be given a second chance. This second conviction has put paid to that defence.
“We will submit parliamentary questions to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to find out whether she was aware that Mr Yengeni was under investigation of a further criminal act when she considered his potential appointment to the Defence Review Committee. We will also ask whether Mr Yengeni disclosed that he was under investigation and whether Minister Sisulu will review his appointment now that he has been convicted a second time,” Harris said.

Yengeni was convicted and jailed for fraud in 2004, serving five months of a four year custodial sentence. Sisulu’s spokesman, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, says it is not for the DA to comment on the suitability or otherwise of Yengeni for the DRC. Mabaya added Sisulu was aware of the charges and conviction when making the appointment. “Is there a court decision baring him from serving on the DRC? Show it! Until then, Tony Yengeni must be allowed to lead his life.” [“Is daar ‘n beslissing van die hof wat hom verbied om in die VHK te dien? Bring dit na vore! Alvorens so ‘n beslissing te voorskyn gebring word, moet Tony Yengeni toegelaat word om sy lewe te lei.”]

Sisulu last month defended the appointment at a media conference, saying Yengeni was “the best man for the job” as he was chair of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence when the last defence review was held. He was, she said, a “necessary repository of how we got where we are.” He was a former uMkhonto we Sizwe commander and therefore understands the former non-statutory forces and also served as ruling party chief whip. As such he is “one of the ablest people we could find.”