‘Soni didn’t pay me’

2015-10-06 09:30
Rajivee Soni

Rajivee Soni

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Pietermaritzburg - Ex-policeman Morné Emersleben denied on Monday that he ever extorted money from murder accused Rajivee Soni.

“I never received a cent for what I did,” Emersleben told Judge Jacqueline Henriques and assessor Gerhard Barnard at the trial in which Soni is charged with murdering doctor Bhavish Sewram on May 13, 2013.

It was suggested to Emersleben by Soni’s defence attorney Naren Sangham that his evidence against Soni was “concocted” by him and his brother-in-law Sugen Naidoo and was “designed to extort Mr Soni”.

Emersleben denied this.

Clarifying the issue, state advocate Johan du Toit asked Emersleben if he ever “put undue pressure” on Soni in an attempt to force him to pay him any money, to which Emersleben said he did not.

Emersleben stressed that he personally did not receive any money from Soni and said what he did, he did “for Sugen”.

He maintained that he was telling the truth when he testified about an incident when he was asked by Soni to arrange to have Sewram assaulted. The assault was never carried out and the R5 000 allegedly paid to the two “hitmen” hired for the job was never repaid.

But Emersleben said he didn’t keep any of the money for himself but gave it all to his cousin Mannetjies and Clint Hammond who were supposed to do the job.

This occurred during 2012 while Emersleben and his family were living with Sugen Naidoo who was a friend of Soni.

Sugen Naidoo was the first state witness to testify in the trial concerning an alleged series of incidents which he said were planned by Soni to get revenge on the doctor whom he suspected of having an affair with his wife.

Emersleben confirmed yesterday that Soni also asked him on another occasion if he (Emersleben) could personally carry out an assault on the doctor, and whether his wife could lay a false sexual assault charge against Sewram, both of which requests he turned down.

He said Soni also asked him if he could obtain an unlicensed firearm for him.

He agreed, but later lied to Soni saying that the men he was supposed to get the gun from were arrested before he could do so.

Under cross examination Emersleben said he did not know anything of certain incidents which Sugen Naidoo testified about, and implicated him in.

He also emphatically denied ever discussing the possibility with anyone of Sewram being stabbed as opposed to assaulted.

“He was supposed to be assaulted … pushed, shoved … I know nothing about stabbing,” he said.

Emersleben also agreed that he was a “cocaine user” at the time of these incidents, but denied he was an addict as alleged by Naidoo.

He told the court that he no longer speaks to Naidoo but declined to elaborate on why their relationship soured, saying it was a family matter.

It was suggested by Sangham that the reason was that he started “overdoing” drugs, to which he responded; “That’s part of it.”

The case is proceeding

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court  |  soni

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