/ 10 January 2008

Cop involved in Yengeni arrest still waiting on hearing

More than a month after he was suspended for his role in Tony Yengeni’s alleged drunk-driving incident, a senior Western Cape police officer does still not know the date of his disciplinary hearing.

”People from disciplinary management are closer to setting a date,” said Western Cape police spokesperson Director Novela Potelwa. ”The whole process has to be finalised within 90 days.”

Goodwood station commissioner Senior Superintendent Siphiwe Hewana was served notice of his suspension without pay on December 4. He allegedly made statements that conflicted with his provincial headquarters about the time Yengeni, a former ANC chief whip, was arrested for drunk-driving in Goodwood on the night of November 25 2007.

Shortly after the arrest, one newspaper quoted Hewana as saying Yengeni’s blood sample was taken only ”about three-and-a-half hours” later.

Western Cape provincial commissioner Mzwandile Petros, however, insisted that the arresting officers had followed procedure, and that the blood was taken not more than an hour-and-a-half after Yengeni’s arrest.

According to Democratic Alliance spokesperson on safety and security Dianne Kohler Barnard, discrepancies in the time frame for the blood sample may be regarded as a breach in the chain of evidence. On the basis of that, the sample might not be admitted as evidence in a trial.

Potelwa said in December last year that a criminal case against Hewana had also been opened, and that investigators were looking at contraventions of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act and the Intimidation Act, and at obstruction of justice.

Yengeni is scheduled to appear in court on the drunk-driving charge on March 19. — Sapa