Court: Wife-murder accused nabbed for plot against hitmen

2008-05-30 00:00

In a dramatic development yesterday, wife-murder accused Sunesh Manilall (35) of Howick was handcuffed and arrested on fresh charges in the foyer of the magistrate’s court in Pietermaritzburg.

Members of the public who attended court for Manilall’s scheduled appearance told Weekend Witness they were startled when investigating officer Swami Pillay arrived at court, called Manilall into the foyer and then handcuffed him.

He was led away to the cells.

Manilall was arraigned with co-accused Victor Mbatha (29) in connection with the murder of Monika Manilall in 2006.

He is on R20 000 bail in connection with the murder of his wife.

Police said Manilall will appear in court on Monday on a new charge of conspiracy to murder Mbatha and another alleged accomplice to Monika Manilall’s murder, Siyabonga Mdlalose.

Mdlalose is serving a life sentence for his role in the killing.

Weekend Witness learned that Manilall is alleged to have taken out a contract on the lives of the two men before he was released on bail.

He and Mbatha made another brief appearance before regional magistrate S. Mngomezulu. The hearing was postponed to June 9 for the state to serve a high court indictment on them.

They are expected to join Manilall’s new wife, Mumtaz Osman (34), in the dock when she goes on trial in the high court on September 15 on the same murder charge.

The state alleges that Monika Manilall’s murder — on February 3, 2006 — was motivated by her husband’s affair with Osman, whom he later married under Muslim rites.

When he pleaded guilty, Mdlalose (25) said he was one of three killers hired to assassinate Monika.

Judge Ron McLaren, who sentenced Mdlalose to life imprisonment, was told that Mdlalose offered to turn state witness against his alleged co-conspirators.

Mdlalose said in a statement to court that when the killers struck, Monika Manilall was playing with her one-year-old daughter.

Mdlalose said he shot Manilall once in the chest.

She fell to the ground, but as they were leaving she got up and he went back and shot her again in the head.

Mdlalose claimed that Osman and Mbatha drove the killers to the murder scene, and alleged that Osman explained to them how to gain entry to the house.

He also claimed that Osman said Sunesh Manilall had left R5 000 in a wardrobe, which they should take to make the murder seem to be a robbery.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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