I was not honest: Mbolombo

2014-11-06 15:30
Shrien Dewani (File, AFP)

Shrien Dewani (File, AFP)

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Cape Town - Hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo on Thursday admitted he had not been honest about his involvement in Anni Dewani's murder until recently when called to testify in the Western Cape High Court.

Mbolombo, aged 35, dressed in a grey suit and green tie, told prosecutor Shareen Riley he lied in two statements he gave to police, and during his testimony in gunman Xolile Mngeni's trial in 2012.

"I was scared, my lady, that I would be arrested and that the more I disclosed my involvement I would be taken and incarcerated", he said to Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso.

Mbolombo is the State's 14th witness called to testify in Shrien Dewani's trial. The British businessman is on trial for allegedly plotting with shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo and others to kill his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon on Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder, and defeating the ends of justice.

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

The State alleges he paid his co-conspirators R15 000 to stage the hijacking.

He maintains Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15,000.

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

After Mngeni was convicted, Judge Robert Henney granted Mbolombo immunity from prosecution on two charges, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of ammunition.

On Thursday, Traverso warned Mbolombo that he faced five counts and made sure he read and understood the charge sheet first during a short adjournment.

Open and honest

"I am not satisfied as I sit here yet, I might be at a later stage, that the indemnity granted to you by Judge Henney, applies to this case as well", she told him.

"At a later stage I would ask counsel to address me on that aspect."

Mbolombo made a statement on the day of his arrest on 18 November 2010 and a second statement soon after.

He volunteered a third statement in September this year after the prosecution showed footage of him at the Protea Hotel.

Explaining his reason for this he said: "It so transpired that I had run out of ideas now and there was no more hiding on my side and I just had to be open and honest."

Dewani's defence team have consistently argued that Mbolombo played a much more central role in the alleged murder plot than what the State claimed.

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

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