Shrien Dewani 'boasted about organising previous South African hit'
The British businessman accused of having his wife Anni killed in a fake carjacking told the taxi driver he co-opted to arrange her death that he "did this before" in South Africa, court hears.
Cape Town. Aislinn Laing in Johannesburg
10 Nov 2014
Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani boasted about successfully organising another contract killing in South Africa to the taxi driver he allegedly recruited to help kill his wife, a court has heard.
The millionaire care home owner from Bristol used the "hit" he ordered on a family friend three years before as a way of persuading Zola Tongo that a fake carjacking would work, his trial at Cape Town's high court was told.
Detectives investigating the fatal shooting of Anni Dewani cleared Mr Dewani of any involvement in the unsolved murder of Dr Pox Raghavjee, the father of a friend, in South Africa in 2007, but suspect he may have used its modus operandi when plotting to kill his new wife.
The 34-year-old denies claims by Tongo and one of two other men convicted of carrying out the hit that he masterminded the conspiracy to kidnap and murder his Swedish wife of two weeks following an ambush of their car which left him and the driver unharmed.
But the testimony of "middle man" Monde Mbolombo, who is said to have recruited two hitmen at Tongo’s request, has resurrected the mysterious murder of Dr Pox Raghavejee and its unsettling similarities to Mrs Dewani’s demise.
Both he and Mrs Dewani were killed by a single bullet and the cars they were travelling in were not stolen after the attack. Dr Raghavjee’s killer was never found – despite a 100,000 Rand (£9,000) reward - and his family voiced fears that he may have been a victim of organised crime.
Tongo told the Western Cape High Court, where Dewani is on trial for murder, that the idea to fake a carjacking was suggested by Mr Dewani during a trip to change money to pay the killers.
This was supported by Mr Mbolombo who told prosecutor Adrian Mopp that Mr Dewani claimed to Tongo the method had been tried and tested by him.
"He [Dewani] went on further to say [to Tongo] that it was not the first time he did this. He did this before in South Africa. And just like it, he wants to do it again but it should appear as if it is a fake hijacking," Mbolombo told the court.
Dewani opened his eyes and mouth in an extravagant show of disbelief in the direction of the press benches as Mr Mbolombo made the claim.
Although his legal team have successfully picked holes in the "middle man"'s testimony – the former hotel receptionist admitted lying to police in the past - and highlighted contradictions in his claims since he first spoke to investigators four years ago, this part of his story has been constant.
In a statement to detectives just six days after 28 year-old Mrs Dewani’s death, in November 2010, Mbolombo made his first reference to Mr Dewani's alleged boast.
“He [Tongo] also said he got the impression this man had been in South Africa before and also had done something like this before, as he mentioned that he wanted the murder to look like any hijacking. He said that the man had previously arranged for somebody to be killed in a ‘fake hijacking in South Africa’,” Mr Mbolombo’s statement read.
Dr Rahavjee’s wallet, cash and watch were left at the crime scene - leading investigators to believe that it was a contract "hit" than a genuine kidnap and robbery.
According to police, Mr Dewani knew details of the unsolved crime well from the doctor’s son, Krischen, and daughter in law Alvita, who are close friends from Bristol.
Despite offering a reward for information worth £9,000 – a massive amount in poverty-stricken South Africa – the murder remains a mystery.
In a further twist, the dead man’s widow, Heather, was one of the first people to travel to Cape Town to comfort Shrien Dewani in the days after his wife's body was found.
Tongo was sentenced to 18 years for murder, hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe, who confessed to his part was jailed for 25 years, and Zolile Mngeni was convicted of murder following a trial and also jailed for 25 years, but died last month from a brain tumour.
Mr Mbolombo is still under cross-examination by Dewani’s lawyers. He was spared prosecution for his involvement in the conspiracy to kill Mrs Dewani in return for giving evidence at Mngeni’s trial. He now faces the threat of prosecution following Dewani’s hearing, unless Judge Jeanette Traverso is persuaded that his immunity should be extended.
Mr Dewani denies five charges, including murder and kidnapping.www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/11221313/Shrien-Dewani-boasted-about-organising-previous-South-African-hit.html