South Africa 7.11.2014 05:55 pm

Dewani did not phone driver – lawyer

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)

Shrien Dewani did not call his taxi driver a few hours before his wife’s murder, the British businessman’s lawyer told the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

“There is no call from the accused in this matter at all during this time,” lawyer Francois van Zyl told State witness and hotel receptionist Monde Mbolombo.

“I can put it to you that Mr Tongo did not receive any incoming calls between 14.24pm to 15.05pm.”

Mbolombo, 35, responded that he was in the taxi at the time, before 3pm on November 13, 2010, and that Tongo had said this was the gentleman who wanted to have his wife killed.

Tongo had told him he was in a hurry because he had to take the man to have his dollars changed to rands to pay the hitmen.

“I want to make that very clear to the court. That is a fact. He received a call in the car,” Mbolombo said.

The witness did not know why that was not reflected on the cellphone records agreed on by the State and defence.

Van Zyl asked why Tongo would be in a rush when there was already evidence to show the driver and Dewani had already been to a money exchange.

Mbolombo said he did not know, but that this was what Tongo had told him.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with 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 paid R15 000 to have the hijacking staged.

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

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Qwabe 25-years.

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.

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.

His cross-examination resumes on Monday.

Sapa

 

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