Man denies Anni Dewani murder cash claim

 

A man accused of helping British newlywed Shrien Dewani to orchestrate the murder of his bride on their honeymoon in Cape Town claimed he did not receive any payment for his role in her death, a court has heard.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was allegedly offered 5,000 rand (about £380) to act as a "middleman" in the plot to kill Anni Dewani in an apparent carjacking.

Xolile Mngeni is standing trial accused of killing the 28-year-old. He denies murder, kidnapping, robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.

Mngeni's lawyer Matthews Dayimani said taxi driver Zola Tongo, who has already been convicted for his role in Mrs Dewani's murder, would testify that the unnamed man was offered cash for his services to hire a hitman.

But the man, who appeared as a witness at Western Cape High Court today, said Tongo was "lying" and claimed he did not receive any payment for his part in the alleged plot.

He said: "I did not get any money from all of this. There was no such promise. It's blood money."

Mrs Dewani was shot dead after the car she was travelling in was hijacked in the impoverished Gugulethu township in November 2010.

Her husband Shrien, who the authorities want to extradite to South Africa, was ejected from the vehicle and Mrs Dewani's body was found later.

So far, two men have admitted their roles in Mrs Dewani's murder and claimed her husband orchestrated the killing.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe was jailed for 25 years and Tongo was jailed for 18 years after saying Dewani offered him 15,000 rand (about £1,200) to arrange the killing and make it look like a carjacking.

Dewani, a care home owner, is due at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 18 when an update will be provided on his medical condition.

He is currently in the care of medics after being diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In Tongo's plea bargain confession, he alleged Dewani had previously arranged for someone to be killed in a fake hijacking in South Africa.

On Wednesday the witness, who was given immunity from prosecution and whose identity was kept secret for fear of reprisals, said he had been the middleman in a plot by a person, believed to be Dewani, to have his wife killed.

He told the court today that he never asked Tongo who the target would be at the time of his request for a hitman.

Judge Robert Henney said: "You didn't ask who is going to be killed. This is a serious thing. Didn't you take it seriously?"

The witness said it did come to mind and at a later stage he asked Tongo while they were in his vehicle who he wanted to be killed.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave