Balfour reads Yengeni the 'riot act'

Fraud convict Tony Yengeni received two high-profile visitors at the Malmesbury Prison on Sunday ‒- African National Congress deputy president Jacob Zuma and Minister of Correctional Services Ngconde Balfour.

While Zuma’s visit was a social one, Balfour’s was official, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said in a statement.

Balfour visited Yengeni to brief the former ANC chief whip on his parole conditions ahead of his release on Monday.

“As the political head of the department who is the most senior accountable leader of DCS, Minister Ngconde Balfour had to personally read the ‘riot act’ to Mr Yengeni to ensure that he is fully informed of the rules and obligations of placement under correctional supervision,” the statement read.

“The minister has a responsibility to ensure that he takes full responsibility for any action that have to be taken whilst an offender of Mr Yengeni’s nature is serving correctional supervision.”

The department said Yengeni’s placement under correctional supervision “places the offender effectively under house arrest within the confines of very strict regulations”.

It said Yengeni would be under correctional supervision until 2008, after which he will be allowed to lead a “normal life without any restriction”.

Convicted in 2003 of defrauding Parliament by failing to disclose a 47% discount on a luxury 4X4 Mercedes-Benz, Yengeni has served only a fraction of his four-year prison sentence.

Media reports said Yengeni switched loyalties to Zuma because he felt hard done by ANC faithfuls and former National Prosecuting Authority boss Bulelani Ngcuka after unsuccessful attempts to clinch a plea bargain.

Zuma also faced corruption charges relating to the arms deal but had his case struck of the roll by Judge Herbert Msimang in September 2006.

Yengeni was present at one of Zuma’s court appearances in Pietermaritzburg.

Yengeni is expected to receive a warm welcome when he is released on Monday.

The ANC has indicated that several of its senior leaders in the Western Cape will be there to greet him.

He will then proceed to his father’s house in Gugulethu where a traditional cleansing ceremony will be held.

There have been claims of preferential treatment for Yengeni. It was reported that he was staying in a specialised hospital cell and he was allowed a visit home after serving about two months of his sentence.

Earlier this month it was reported that he was allowed to hold a private Christmas party where his wife brought him a meal which they shared behind closed doors while other prisoners had to be content with the prison kitchen’s food on Christmas Day. - Sapa

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