Panayiotou 'middleman' refuses to answer questions

2016-11-16 19:07
Luthando Siyoni in the witness box with his lawyer Zolile Ngqeza next to him. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

Luthando Siyoni in the witness box with his lawyer Zolile Ngqeza next to him. (Werner Hills, Netwerk24)

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Port Elizabeth - The suspected middleman in Jayde Panayiotou’s murder on Wednesday refused to answer any questions about his boss’s alleged plot to have his wife killed.

“I can’t answer a question that may incriminate me,” Luthando Siyoni told the High Court in Port Elizabeth shortly after court proceedings began at 12:00, following a delay.

Jayde’s husband Christopher Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and the killing of the schoolteacher on April 21 last year. They pleaded not guilty.

Siyoni, who turned State witness, allegedly hired the hitman, Sizwezakhe Vumazonke. He died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park.

Prosecutor Marius Stander asked Siyoni about a statement he had given to investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel. In it he had provided details about meeting Christopher Panayiotou through a man called Lendle, with whom he previously worked at a club called Diamonds.

In the statement, Siyoni said Lendle and Panayiotou visited him at a tavern he worked at in New Brighton and asked him whether he was willing to work at the Infinity club.

Shortly after moving to Infinity, Siyoni said both Lendle and Panayiotou approached him and asked him if he wanted to make money. The two showed Siyoni a capsule called “Mandy” which contained a type of cocaine.

In his statement, Siyoni says he did not find it easy to sell the drug because users did not know him and those who did use it, complained it was too strong.

Months later, Siyoni said Panayiotou asked him if he knew anyone who would kill someone.

“I replied that I will look for someone. Nothing further was discussed. I do not know at this stage who was to be killed,” the statement read.

‘I am not going to answer’

Siyoni repeatedly responded, “I am not going to answer that question”, as Stander read through the statement line by line, and asked Siyoni whether he had said this.

“Will you be answering any of my questions today, or none of them?” Stander retorted.

“The question I will answer is the question that relates to the fact that I was given money and I handed that over to Sizwe,” Siyoni said.

Stander continued to read out contents of the statement to the court. Siyoni described how he approached a man he knew in Motherwell, known as Lama.

“I believed that Lama himself would not kill the person, but was hoping that he would know someone. I told Lama that my boss was doing the request.

“I was not supposed to tell that it was my boss, as Chris requested me not to do so as he wanted to protect his identity,” the statement read.

Siyoni says he arranged for Panayiotou and Lama to meet. Nothing came of their meeting, and Panayiotou “started to put me under pressure to find someone else”.

Siyoni continued refusing to respond to Stander’s questions.

The matter was adjourned until Thursday.

Read more on:    jayde pana­yiotou  |  christopher panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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