Accused 3 deny murders

2018-05-29 17:01
Woman pleads guilty to insurance fraud charge, men deny all counts.

Woman pleads guilty to insurance fraud charge, men deny all counts. (File)

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Two men and a woman have emphatically denied having murdered three people after plotting to cash in on life insurance policies they had secretly taken out.

Joseph Khanyile, Mandla Khumalo and Doris Zaca on Monday also pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted murder before Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Piet Bezuidenhout.

The trio are charged with having plied their victims with alcohol and drugs before leaving them in the middle of the road. They then allegedly ran them over.

The prosecution claims that their motive was to cash in on policies they had taken out in the names of their victims using their identity numbers.

The trio allegedly opted for the gruesome deaths because they knew that insurers paid more when a person died during a motor vehicle accident, according to the state’s indictment.

The alleged incidents took place in 2015 and 2016 in Pietermaritzburg and Greytown.

Zaca, a former school teacher at Eastwood Primary School, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud while denying the murder and attempted murder charges.

The men denied all counts.

According to Zaca’s version, a man she knew from childhood had told her and two other women — Hlengiwe Judith Zuma and Mildred Fisani Khoza — in 2014 that they all could make extra money.

He’d said they could take out insurance policies for “anyone” and claim from the insurers once the people had been declared dead.

Zuma, also a former teacher, and Khoza, who had been a nurse, pleaded guilty to various charges last year and were sentenced to an effective 15 years each.

Zaca said that one day whilst in a car, she had heard Zuma talk about a Sonosakhe Mdlalose — one of the alleged murder victims in the case.

Zaca said she noted his details and then applied for a fraudulent insurance policy using the information. “I did not receive any payment,” she said.

The state alleges that Khanyile, Khumalo and Zaca had formed a syndicate to enrich themselves through benefiting from fraudulent insurance policies.

It is alleged they killed Mzomuhle Zuma on August 27, 2015; Sonosakhe Mdlalose on March 19, 2016; and Bongani Gcabashe on August 4, 2016. The incidents all happened in Greytown.

They are also charged with attempting to murder a mentally challenged woman, Thandeka Gwala, on November 20, 2015 in Copesville.

In three instances they are alleged to have staged car accidents after giving their targets alcohol and drugs that immobilised them.

Gwala survived the “accident” but suffered serious injuries.

In the case of a fourth victim, Bongani Gcabashe, the state claims that they had failed to get him intoxicated. They then abandoned their plan to stage a car accident for him and instead lured him to a tuck shop at Ematimatolo, Greytown, where he was shot dead.

The insurers and financial service providers (Avbob, Clientele, Discovery, Hollard, Old Mutual, Regent Life, Sanlam and Standard Bank) lost a total of R1 369 880.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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