Cipro not at fault in Yengeni debacle

2010-11-02 16:23

Cape Town - Trade and industry director general Tshediso Matona has absolved the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) of blame in the latest Tony Yengeni debacle.

The Democratic Alliance on Monday laid charges against ANC veteran Yengeni for serving as a director of six companies, though by law his jail sentence for fraud precludes him from doing so.

Section 218 of the Companies Act disqualifies anybody who was jailed for theft, fraud, forgery or perjury from being a company director, unless the high court sets aside the disqualification.

Briefing the media at Parliament on Tuesday, Matona said it seemed transformation in the economy, whereby historically excluded people were now being included in the mainstream economy, had consequences.

One of these was that there was insufficient understanding and knowledge of the legal framework for corporate governance as provided for in the original Companies Act, which set out the responsibilities of directors and how they might change, and the role of the register, Cipro in this instance.

This "space" required addressing, not only by government, but also by the private sector itself to make all directors and executives aware of the legal governing framework.

This was needed particularly in view of the new Companies Act - not yet in effect - which had even greater obligations on directors, he said.

With regard to an individual director, who might for one reason or another, fall foul of the requirements of the Act, there was no way Cipro would be able to know "what each and every director on the database is up to on a day-to-day basis".

"It's simply impossible." The same applied, for example, where a director died.

"The obligation is on the company concerned to bring this to the attention of (Cipro), to say that such and such a director is no longer eligible to be a director for one reason or another," Matona said.

"That's the legal situation, so there should be no confusion here as to what the responsibility and obligations of (Cipro) are relative to the responsibility of the company concerned."

On Monday, DA MP Tim Harris said the police had undertaken to investigate a potential fraud case against Yengeni, a former ANC chief whip, for holding the posts.

Rapport and City Press claimed on Sunday that Yengeni was still serving as a company director despite his four-year jail sentence for fraud linked to South Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal.

A search of the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) revealed Yengeni serves as a director for Auburn Avenue Trading 88, Circle Way Trading 231, Duoflex, Abrina 2354, White Rag Investments and Cream Mag Trading.

He joined three of the companies in 2005, before he was sent to jail the following year, and the remaining three in 2008.

City Press quoted Yengeni as spurning the notion he had to ask the courts for special permission to serve as a director.

"What has the high court to do with my life?" he reportedly asked.

"Maybe the law stipulates certain things. But the high court... .I don't think they feature. I don't have to ask permission from them to deal with my life."

The identity number listed for Yengeni in Cipro's records coincides with that in government records, confirming the directorships are held by him.

Later on Tuesday, in a members' statement in the National Assembly, Harris said he awaited the outcome of the resulting police investigation into the matter with interest.

"A cloud of corruption and criminality hangs over (Yengeni's) excessive wealth that he continues to flash around with no regard for the persistent poverty that is the lived reality of most South Africans.

"If the ANC continues to tolerate and support leaders like Mr Yengeni then voters will make their disapproval known at the ballot box," Harris said.

Yengeni is currently in charge of establishing the ANC's new political school.

  • Baas'Boerseun - 2010-11-02 16:46

    A court should decide if CIPRO has done something wrong, not a cadre deployed DG.

  • Sizwe - 2010-11-02 16:49

    Smart enough to write the laws, but too dumb to follow them. Ignorance is no excuse - flame him. What about members interests declared to parliament? Has he listed these? If not then he has again broken the law. He is more Majali than Mandela. He still doesn't think he was guilty of anything the first time.

  • Simon - 2010-11-02 16:57

    Who wants to take a bet that _nothing_ will be done against Yengeni? He is our very own Teflon con

  • Furado - 2010-11-02 17:02

    CIPRO not to blame????? WTF does it take 3-6montsh to register a company or change ownership, if CIPRO is not checking police clearences etc??? Sounds like it take CIPRO 6 months just to cahnge a name and ID number on the directorship. Hate to know how long it would take if they had to actually validate any of the information!!!!

  • Soothsayer - 2010-11-02 17:06

    Ignorance is no excuse.This is what happens when people are put in positions they are not capable of running ,the law cannot be bent to suit connected people.All people should be equal before the law.If it was broken then the penalty should be applied.

  • gato - 2010-11-02 17:09

    how about checking every politician who has a criminal record whether they are appointed direcotrs of companies? bet you wil find hundreds of them with criminal records being directors of various comapnies anmd getting goverment tenders.

  • frans - 2010-11-02 17:11


  • DeonL - 2010-11-02 17:16

    Why do the Government / Parliament have to wait for the police investigation? He has admitted it, he should be immiadatley suspended!

  • Greg - 2010-11-02 17:19

    This is what makes the majority black nation hate the other minorities. DA you are helping the minorities cause for a peaceful life in SA.

  • roland - 2010-11-02 17:19

    come come "Boerseun" - since when has the ANC (or any of it's hierarchy) done anything wrong? Even the courts will find in their favour!

  • James - 2010-11-02 17:20

    ANC waffling, protecting their own. What could one expect? Most of them do not understand the legalities of the system, or in fact decide to ignore them. One wonders who the spin doctor is that must be kept so very busy thinking up original ideas to baffle the public.

  • Casper - 2010-11-02 17:22

    I retired 1995. As a former company secretay I recollect that the CM27 form that accepting directors must sign is quite clear on the matter of fraud, jail sentnces and insolvency, etc.

  • will294 - 2010-11-02 17:26

    "what each and every director on the database is up to on a day-to-day basis". ?? But Tony Yengeni is a very well known person. Is Mr Matona not surprised that nobody in CIPRO was aware that Mr Yengeni served jail time - particularly taking into account how well publicized his case was - even to the extent of well known and important ANC figures accompanying and giving their support to Mr Yengeni when he went to Pollsmoor prison

  • nuts2839 - 2010-11-02 17:26

    In this case, Tony Yengeni is so well known CIPRO couldn't have failed to know who he was but I suppose were too afraid to do anyting about it.

  • will294 - 2010-11-02 17:30

    I find it difficult to believe that nobody in CIPRO was aware of Tony Yengeni's history - particularly as his case - together with the well publicized march to Pollsmoor prison (with much support from some in the ANC hierachy) It is also no excuse for CIPRO to not know all the rules.

  • da has time to waste - 2010-11-02 17:40

    as usual the DA is out to waste taxpayers money. these do not sound like influential companies. the DA will want a full enquiry and use of time from our public servants, when they could be better tackling service delivery. why dont you bark up shoprites christo wiese confiscated monies, 10 times the fraud yengeni committed. or does he pay your bills.

  • Carl - 2010-11-02 19:32

    Funny how I've been turned down for the 3'rd time for my companies name in 3 months, due to the thorough way "they" go through every application. Seems once again the law applies only to those not in the inner circle !

  • Frikkop - 2010-11-02 20:01

    So, if an impoverished discriminated against, 18 year old steals a truck full of bread then goes to prison for 12 months, is rehabilitated, possibly educated and released into society the same society will not see that person occupy a position of financial trust even if 50 years has passed. The whites truly have it all and you are all planning on keeping it forever. Okay, we will see.

  • Alan - 2010-11-02 23:50

    Strange...very strange!! From what I remember we learned these laws in Std.8 Business Economics. It was then usually part of Economics, business economics and business management 101 at is also common knowledge in the business world. oh, did I fail to mention that as a director of a company you are also a commissioner of oaths, in which you agree that you are familiar with the companies act and your duties... mmm... I guess the guy didn't go to school then, or he is simply oblivious about what is going on around him. Do you want a director like that on your board?? @Frikkop.. Yes, we have...why, because we actually bothered to read the manuals and textbooks at school...We did not use it to make zols!!! that's why we know these things...

  • John Smith - 2010-11-03 06:38

    @Frikkop No, he is not excluded. He would have to make application to the High Court for them to decide. @Casper Appearing at the head of the CM27: "I certify that I am not disqualified in terms of sections 218 or 219 of the Companies Act , 1973 from being a director / officer*." This form is signed by the director together with a list of all his other directorships. If Yengeni was unsure of the contents of Sec 218 or 219 of the Companies Act state he could have asked the auditors or simply Googled it. Yengeni, by signing the document is guilty of fraud.

  • Sipho - 2010-11-03 08:32

    @Frikkop. You say "Okay, we will see", yet you are too blind to see educated people leaving SA. Since you are so race concious, pse note that both blacks and whites, who can get a job elsewhere, are leaving.

  • Leo - 2010-11-03 11:10

    CIPRO is not capable to decide whether or not they are guilty, they are an entity which does not even know the definition of service delivery. They do not answer letters or e-mails directed at them this is a policy it seems incaltrated in CIPRO, which has become even worse since seven officials have been suspended for malpractice within the organisation.

  • C.K. Scheepers. - 2011-01-22 13:37

    Law abiding South Africans WAKE UP. If you are an ANC member the law does not effect you. Boesak stole from the childrens fund (The Really poorest of the poor.) Dullah Omar called it freedom fighter accountancy. Malema holds a few directorship's, as anybody approached him yet whether he knows tghe responsibilities of a director. In the Nw South African everybody has rights nobody has responsibilties. I have a job I do not have to know what I must do to earn my wages or salary.

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