ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte feels that Tony Yengeni was wrongfully convicted of fraud in 2003, The Sunday Times has reported.
According to Duarte, Yengeni’s only fault was failing to declare a discount he received on a luxury Mercedes Benz 4×4.
“The conviction of Comrade Tony Yengeni worries many in the ANC. What are we saying? If you negotiate a vehicle in this country you dare not negotiate a discount because that’s corruption?
How many South Africans should then go to have a prison sentence for three years (sic)? It worries me personally”, Duarte said.
Yengeni, once dubbed a ‘Gucci socialist’ because of his taste for the high life, has been the source of much controversy in the past week due to the ANC’s decision to appoint him as the chair of a working group focussing on crime and corruption.
READ MORE: ANC defends Yengeni as anti-corruption chair
Many say the appointment is a strange choice given the court’s conclusion that his failure to declare the 47 percent discount he was given on the luxury vehicle to parliament constituted fraud.
Yengeni was sentenced to 4 years in prison but only served four months.
This is not the only time the former ANC chief whip has fallen foul of the law.
In 2013, he was found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol in the Cape Town Community Court.
Cape Town’s mayoral chief of safety and security, Jean-Pierre Smith laid a charge after viewing surveillance video footage of Yengeni’s Maserati GranCabrio driving erratically. The vehicle also had no front number plate.
Way back in 1995, Yengeni was accused of making a R6-million bribe agreement with a German arms bidder when he headed Parliament’s joint standing committee on defence.
Detectives in Germany said that they found a copy of the agreement when they raided ThyssenKrupp, the German engineering conglomerate which led the consortium that sold four patrol corvettes to South Africa for R6.9-billion.