Tongo knew affidavit was vital - lawyer

2014-11-04 12:49
Shrien Dewani (File: AFP)

Shrien Dewani (File: AFP)

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Cape Town - One of Anni Hindocha's convicted killers had ample time to correct his initial statement to police about the alleged murder plot, her husband's lawyer told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Francois van Zyl, for Shrien Dewani, was curious about why Zola Tongo was now claiming his statement was incorrect.

Tongo, 34, the State's 12th witness, has claimed on the stand since last week that there were mistakes in the statement he made on 26 November 2010, after handing himself to police.

He is testifying in Dewani's trial, who is accused of his wife's murder.

He told Van Zyl he only remembered some things after his statement had already been typed and he had signed it.

"Mr Tongo, you were given an opportunity on the 2nd of December [2010] to make corrections to your earlier statement. Do you recall that?"

Tongo said he did.

"The only correction that you made dealt with the money that you received from Mr Dewani. I am talking about the R1 000. You made no other corrections," he said.

Tongo said it was possible, and Van Zyl again asked why he did not make all the corrections.

"As I said, my lady, I was still then critical and could only remember some things," Tongo replied.

Dewani is accused of the murder of his wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes and defeating the ends of justice.

Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010. He was released unharmed and Anni driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

Staged hijacking

The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking in return for R15 000.

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term in terms of a plea agreement.

The court heard that his attorney at the time, William da Grass, had negotiated with the National Prosecuting Authority and police to arrive at a plea bargain and have Tongo testify against his accomplices.

Five days after these negotiations, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Barkhuizen interviewed Tongo in the presence of Da Grass.

"This was not just a statement done hurriedly in a police station. This statement was taken by a Lieutenant Colonel who was in control of this investigation. He knew how serious this affidavit is and would be in future. Would you agree with that?" Van Zyl asked.

Tongo agreed. He said he could not remember how long it took to finalise the statement.

"It can be a few days, maybe hours, but we took some time to write this up," Tongo said.

Middleman Monde Mbolombo, a hotel receptionist, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against his accomplices.

Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on 18 October. Mziwamadoda Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  crime  |  dewani trial

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