/ 7 December 2007

Yengeni policeman faces criminal probe

Police are investigating charges of corruption and obstruction of justice against a senior Cape Town policeman involved in Tony Yengeni’s alleged drunk-driving saga.

Provincial police spokesperson Novel Potelwa said on Friday that Goodwood station commissioner, Senior Superintendent Siphiwe Hewana, had also been suspended without pay, and faced an internal disciplinary hearing.

She said a criminal case had been opened, and that investigators were looking at contraventions of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act, of the Intimidation Act, and at obstruction of justice.

Hewana allegedly made conflicting statements to his provincial headquarters about the time Yengeni, a former African National Congress chief whip, was arrested for drunk driving on the night of November 25.

The arrest time has a bearing on usefulness of the blood alcohol sample taken from Yengeni, which is supposed to happen within a two-hour window period.

One newspaper this week quoted Hewana as saying the sample was taken only ”about three and a half hours” later.

However police provincial commissioner Mzwandile Petros was at pains this week to insist that arresting officers had followed procedure, and that Yengeni’s blood was taken not more than an hour and a half after the arrest.

Yengeni, who is on the ANC’s list of candidates for re-election to the party’s national executive committee, is on parole after serving a few months’ jail time for his 2003 conviction for defrauding Parliament, by failing to disclose a discount on a 4X4 Mercedes-Benz.

He is to appear in court on the drunk-driving charge on March 19 next year.

Among the conditions of his parole are that he may not use liquor. – Sapa