Murder: pair admit love affair

2010-04-22 00:00

HOWICK murder accused Sanesh Manilall and his new wife, Mumtaz Osman, admitted yesterday to having an extramarital affair from 2005, but denied plotting to murder Manilall’s late wife, Monika, who was shot dead in the couple’s Howick West home on February 3, 2006.

Giving evidence in the high court in Durban before KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President Herbert Msimang and assessors, Manilall (37) said he has “never believed” the allegation that Osman was behind his late wife’s murder.

The couple married on July 7, 2008. Osman said they were living together at the time and Manilall’s parents were not happy about the situation.

“Basically it was his parents’ idea that we get married,” she said.

Under cross-examination by state advocate Attie Truter concerning her affair with Manilall, Osman said she knew he was married when the affair commenced. She was divorced.

When it was suggested to her that she must have been “serious” about the relationship if she was prepared to embark on it knowing Manilall was married, Osman responded: “It was just an attraction at that time. I didn’t think anything of it.”

Manilall later told the court that Monika (to whom he was married for 12 years) found out about the affair.

Osman, Manilall and Mboniseni Victor Mbatha have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Monika Manilall, which the state alleges was motivated by the couple’s affair.

Mbatha — who allegedly arranged the “hit” on Osman’s behalf in exchange for a promise of R10 000 — declined to give evidence in his defence yesterday.

The judge admitted into evidence records of cellphone calls between Osman, Manilall and Mbatha, and other people.

The state submits that the timing, the number of calls and the location from which they were made corroborate the allegations that the three plotted the murder.

Osman testified that she and Manilall first met in 2005 while she was working for property agents Maxprop in Pietermaritzburg and he wanted advice about the possible sale of his house.

They started phoning each other. “Eventually he asked me out for coffee, there was an attraction and it just went on from there … to an affair,” said Osman.

Osman has two children from her previous marriage. Manilall also has two children.

Asked if Manilall ever discussed his marital problems with her, Osman replied, “No, he didn’t have any marital problems.”

“He told me he was happily married … It was fine with me. As I said, it was just an attraction.”

Asked how Manilall felt about the murder of his wife, Osman said he was “emotionally affected”.

“I know he was seeing someone about it,” she added.

Osman said it had never crossed her mind that her co-accused, Mbatha, could have been involved in Monika Manilall’s murder.

She told the court that Mbatha introduced himself to her as a lawyer at court in Pietermaritzburg in 2005 when he offered to help her sort out “maintenance issues” and track down her ex-husband.

Mbatha said he would assist her “privately” and would not tell his associates. He even offered to get a private investigator to help.

He said he would not charge her a big fee, but never discussed the actual cost. She never paid him anything, she said.

The case is continuing.

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