Dewani driver did not check on hit money

2014-11-03 20:32
Murder accused Shrien Dewani in Cape Town. (Leigh-Anne Jansen, Sapa)

Murder accused Shrien Dewani in Cape Town. (Leigh-Anne Jansen, Sapa)

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Cape Town - No steps were taken to ensure British businessman Shrien Dewani put the money he allegedly paid for his wife's murder in the cubbyhole of his hired shuttle taxi, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

The driver of the taxi, Zola Tongo, 34, said he never doubted Dewani would place R15 000 in his car before he and two other men staged a hijacking to kill his wife Anni.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly masterminding the murder while the couple was on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

"I was trusting the accused so much that I thought that he had prepared for everything," Tongo told Dewani's lawyer Francois van Zyl during cross-examination.

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

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

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

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.

Tongo initially said it had been Dewani's idea to place the money in his cubbyhole, but later told the court he made a mistake and that it was Qwabe's idea.

He admitted to Van Zyl that he considered Mngeni and Qwabe dangerous.

Dangerous men

Knowing they were dangerous men, Van Zyl asked what Tongo did to ensure the money was where it should be. It seemed from his answers that Tongo did nothing.

He told the court that after the hitmen failed to meet at the agreed hijack spot earlier in the evening, Dewani told him in Strand that he had put the money in the back pouch of the front passenger seat.

Tongo then told the hitmen where the money was. He said he did not know where and when the money had been placed before he drove to Gugulethu the first time.

"And if the hijacking took place at that time and he [Dewani] was thrown out of the car, where would the two hijackers then find the money?" Van Zyl asked.

Tongo said it was assumed the money would be in the cubbyhole. He was asked what would have happened to him if the hitmen did not find any money there.

"What I think is that they might have thought I was the one who took the money. Maybe they will come back, look for me."

Van Zyl asked how the money situation would have worked if his colleague Ta Vuks had agreed to drive the couple that night, when Tongo considered pulling out.

"Did you make any arrangements to make sure the money would be in Ta Vuks's cubbyhole?" Van Zyl asked.

Tongo replied it was never necessary to arrange this as Ta Vuks had told him he was busy with other business.

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

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