South Africa 10.11.2014 05:29 pm

Mbolombo sticks to guns about calls at Dewani trial

FILE PICTURE: British businessman Shrien Dewani is seen through the window of a car upon arriving at the Western Cape High Court on Thursday, 9 October 2014 for his murder trial. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

FILE PICTURE: British businessman Shrien Dewani is seen through the window of a car upon arriving at the Western Cape High Court on Thursday, 9 October 2014 for his murder trial. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

Two important phone calls definitely took place around an alleged plot to kill honeymooner Anni Dewani, a hotel receptionist told the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

┬áDeputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso had asked Monde Mbolombo, 35, about the calls he testified on and which she described as “very important”.

The first was a call that taxi driver accomplice Zola Tongo apparently received on November 13, 2010, the same day Anni was killed.

Mbolombo testified that he overheard Tongo speaking on the phone, allegedly to Anni’s husband Shrien Dewani.

Tongo apparently told him that this was the man who wanted his wife killed and that the man did not trust him.

Traverso told Mbolombo this phone call could not be found on phone records agreed upon by the State and defence.

“I have to agree that there is no record but it happens that Zola received a call whilst I was in his company,” Mbolombo replied through his Xhosa interpreter.

The second call was apparently from Tongo to Mbolombo that evening, in which he said he had switched his phone off because he was sitting with the couple in a restaurant.

Mbolombo again agreed there was no record but that it did happen.

He was asked how this was possible.

“I don’t know but maybe he deleted the calls. I don’t know,” he replied.

Shrien Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with Tongo and others to kill his wife 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 were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, November 13, 2010. 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 conspired with others to stage the hijacking for which he paid 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.

Francois van Zyl, for Dewani, put it to Mbolombo that he was much more involved from the beginning and that his version of events was improbable.

He said his client was not involved in any conspiracy to kill his wife.

Mbolombo replied that he had told the truth the entire testimony and that there had never been a plan to demand a ransom from Dewani.

“I also want to state it here that Mr Dewani is lying. He knows everything from the beginning to the end.”

Van Zyl said he was relying on what Tongo had told him.

Mbolombo rebutted: “It would be impossible for all three of us to say the same thing. All three of us, Tongo, Qwabe and myself, know who is behind this and it is Mr Shrien Dewani who is sitting there.”

The lawyer said the three were not saying the same thing.

The witness was eventually excused from the stand.

A new witness was expected to be called on Tuesday.

Sapa

 

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