South Africa 7.11.2014 03:10 pm

Mbolombo asks for a break

FILE PICTURE: Shrien Dewani appears in the Western Cape High Court on October 6, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Dewani is accused of organising his wife's murder while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010, today is the first day of his trial. (Photo by Gallo Images / Halden Krog)

FILE PICTURE: Shrien Dewani appears in the Western Cape High Court on October 6, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Dewani is accused of organising his wife's murder while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010, today is the first day of his trial. (Photo by Gallo Images / Halden Krog)

The trial of British businessman Shrien Dewani, for the murder of his wife Anni, adjourned on Friday after hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo asked for a break because he was afraid he might confuse his answers.

“I am tired my lady. I am asking for some time because I am scared I am confusing things. Even if it is 15 minutes,” 35-year-old Mbolombo said through his Xhosa interpreter.

Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso granted the adjournment.

Prosecutor Shareen Riley exited the court and went to the witness room to speak to him.

He returned with red eyes and seemed to be trying to maintain his composure. The registrar then announced that the trial would resume after lunch, patted his arm, and softly said something to him.

As he exited, Anni Dewani’s father Vinod Hindocha held the door open and smiled at him.

Mbolombo was warned at the beginning of his testimony that the court had yet to decide whether he would be granted immunity from prosecution on five criminal charges.

Moments before the adjournment, Dewani’s lawyer Francois van Zyl had been trying to find out what Mbolombo’s role was in the murder, especially because he said on Thursday that he had felt he should receive monetary compensation.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo and others to kill Anni while they were on honeymoon in 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 was hijacked while Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, November 13.

He was released unharmed, but Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

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

He maintains that 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.

At the conclusion of that trial, Mbolombo was granted immunity from prosecution on two charges — conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of ammunition.

Mbolombo told the court on Friday that all he knew a day before the alleged plot was that someone needed to be killed. He said his role was to introduce and maintain contact between Tongo and Qwabe.

“At that point you had done nothing except introduce them to each other. And you thought R5000 would be good enough for only that, or did you foresee a further role for yourself?” the lawyer asked.

Mbolombo replied that the men did not discuss how he would be involved at the time, but he thought that his access to the hotel telephones was useful.

Sapa

 

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