Wednesday, October 8, 2014

South Africa: Shrien Dewani Pleads Not Guilty in Contract Hit on Wife, Anni, 28

According to the BBC, British businessman Shrien Dewani, now 38, agreed to pay about £1,300 (US$2,089.70) for a hitman to murder his wife, Anni, who was 28 at the time of her death in Cape Town.

On the second day of the trial in Cape Town, Mziwamadoda Qwabe said he was asked to make it look like a hijacking.

Dewani from Bristol, denies murdering his wife Anni, on their honeymoon in 2010.

The couple was held at gunpoint while being driven in a taxi through Gugulethu township near Cape Town.

Qwabe told the Western Cape High Court that taxi driver Zola Tonga had told him "there was a husband who wanted his wife to be killed.”

Dewani faces five charges, including murder and lying about the circumstances of Swedish national Anni's death.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe has already been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of Anni Dewani.

Qwabe, from Cape Town, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012 for the murder of Anni Dewani.

Prosecutors claim Dewani conspired with him and other Cape Town residents Zola Tongo and Xolile Mngeni.

Qwabe, 29, told the court Tongo phoned him and said "he had a job that needed to be done--that someone needed to be killed."

He said Tongo agreed to meet him the next day to discuss the murder, and a price of 15,000 rand (about £1,330 at the exchange rate at the time) was agreed.

The pair then arranged to meet up with Tongo's taxi for the attack, during which Dewani's phone would also be stolen.

He told the court the money was due to be left in a "cubby” in the vehicle which would later be split before the pair spent an evening "socializing.”

Qwabe was asked if there was any discussion about a weapon. He said: "I knew there would be a firearm involved."

He told the court Tongo called him later and told him the route the taxi would take on the evening of November 13, 2010.

Shrien Dewani, who is on trial in South Africa, denies any involvement in his wife's death.

Describing the carjacking, Qwabe said: "[Mngeni] had the gun. As it [Tongo's car] approached I got into the driver's side.

"[Mngeni] got into the passenger side and Zola got into the back. I saw in the (rear view) window a guy and behind me was a lady," he said.

"I ordered Zola to get out of the car. He told me the money was in a pouch behind the front passenger door.

"I stopped the vehicle, I asked the husband to get out of the car.

"The husband was now out of the vehicle and I drove on."

Qwabe told the court he was behind the wheel when Anni was fatally wounded.

He said he was concentrating on the road at the moment Mngeni killed her.

"I heard a gun shot. [Mngeni] said. “I shot the lady.”

"I pulled over on to the pavement and stopped the car. I saw she [Anni] was on the back seat of the car."

He told the court 10,000 rand was in the pouch and 4,000 rand was seized from "the husband.”

Qwabe admitted he had lied in court at a bail hearing before he admitted his guilt in the murder.

François van Zyl, representing Dewani, said: "At that bail hearing you testified under oath, you pleaded not guilty because you said you had an alibi. Is that a lie?"

COMMENT: Anni Dewani's father, Vinod Hindocha, was among family members who attended the trial in Cape Town.

Qwabe replied: "My lawyer at the time told me to plead not guilty."

Van Zyl said: "I repeat the question. Was that a lie under oath?"

Qwabe answered: "Yes."

The court was told there had been no conversations with Tongo about how Anni would be killed, only that it look like a carjacking.

Van Zyl asked: "You never had a discussion about how this woman was going to be killed?"

Qwabe answered: "No, sir."

He told the court it was not decided who would strike the fatal blow, what weapon would be used, or where the killing would take place.

On Monday, Dewani told the court in a written statement that his "whole world came crashing down" when his wife was found killed. He also revealed to the court that he is bisexual.

A record of agreed upon facts in released by the court on Wednesday (October 8), revealed that Dewani had been browsing same-sex dating websites during the honeymoon and within days of his wife's death.

It shows he was logged into the Gaydar website while waiting with his wife for a connecting flight to Cape Town, and three times between November 15 and November 16, He also logged into the Recon website twice.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday (October 9).

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