Twist in Manilall case

2009-05-19 00:00

IN a surprise twist yesterday, a man who is currently serving a life sentence after he pleaded guilty last year to shooting dead Howick mother Monika Manilall in 2006, told Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Herbert Msimang that he, in fact, “knows nothing” about the crime at all.

Siyabonga Mdlalose was one of two alleged accomplices to the murder to give evidence last week in the trial of the victim’s former husband, Sanesh Manilall, his new wife, Mumtaz Osman, and Mboniseni Victor Mbatha, who have denied charges that they formed a common purpose to murder Monika Manilall.

Mdlalose gave detailed evidence over two days last week during which he admitted that he was among four men hired to kill Monika Manilall for R10 000, and said he was the gunman who fired the fatal shots at her. He implicated all three accused in the murder plot.

Yesterday, while under cross-examination by advocate Shane Matthews, Mdlalose said he did not, in fact, shoot Monika Manilall and did not know who had shot her.

He alleged that following his arrest on the murder charge police told him he would “spend a long time in prison”, but that if he admitted his guilt it would be “of help” to him. However, he said after he was sentenced to life imprisonment they failed to keep their “promise” to assist to him.

Mdlalose said he was fetched from Ncome Prison and brought to Pietermaritzburg where police told him that “in order for my sentence to be reduced” he should give evidence in the present case.

He responded by asking them how he was expected to be a witness in a case he did not know about and they then wrote out another statement for him, he alleged.

Mdlalose claimed that, for the past two weeks, police “read” the statement to him. He also told the judge that the state advocate, Dalene Barnard, was present when he was “induced” to testify by police and that he had told her that he knew nothing about the case.

The court adjourned until today to enable Barnard and the defence advocates to decide what should happen in the light of Mdlalose’s startling claims.

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