Witness details how Anni Dewani’s killing was planned

2012-08-15 15:38

Incriminating details of how Anni Dewani’s murder was allegedly planned emerged in the Western Cape High Court today.

A state witness told the court about phone calls he received from taxi driver Zola Tongo requesting he find a hitman.

Tongo has already pleaded guilty to his involvement in Dewani’s murder, and is serving an 18-year prison sentence.

The witness, a former hotel employee who presiding Judge Robert Henney ordered cannot be named by the press, is testifying as a Section 204 witness.

This means he is implicated in the crimes but can receive indemnity for assisting the state.

The witness was testifying in the trial against murder accused Xolile Mngeni, whom co-accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe last week fingered as the man who pulled the trigger.

The witness told the court that on the eve of Anni’s murder in November 2010, Tongo approached him at his workplace and asked if he knew any hitmen as there was “a gentleman who wanted to kill a woman”.

The state contends that the “gentleman” was Shrien Dewani, who is currently in the UK tied up in extradition proceedings.

Anni and Shrien were visiting South Africa on their honeymoon when Anni was murdered.

The witness detailed to the court how he allegedly set Tongo up with a person identified only as “Abongile”, who was to be the hitman.

The witness said he again met Tongo the following day, and asked why the driver was looking for a hitman.

“He (Tongo) said there was a gentleman that wanted the woman killed. The gentleman was not from South African and was here (in South Africa) before and he had done this before.”

The witness said Tongo had told him “it must look like a hijacking”.

The witness said while they were talking inside the car, Zola’s phone rang and he told him the caller was the person wanting to hire a hitman.

The witness said he could not hear what the other gentleman was saying, but Tongo said: “I am on my way”.

The witness also testified that he had been contacted by Abongile after Anni’s murder. Abongile had told him that “what needed to be done has been done”.

Today marked the beginning of Mngeni’s trial.

His co-accused, Qwabe, was last week sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to Anni’s murder.

Mngeni’s trial has been delayed after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The trial continues tomorrow.

– West Cape News

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