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Dewani suspect is back in court


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Independent Newspapers

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Johannesburg - The trial of one of the men accused of killing honeymooner Anni Dewani will continue in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Dewani, 28, was shot in an apparent car hijacking while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien in Cape Town in November 2010.

On Wednesday, a witness confessed that he had been the middleman, by putting shuttle driver Zola Tongo in contact with a man who knew more about the underworld.

Tongo had phoned the witness on November 12, 2010, asking if he knew of a hitman.

He said he did not but could give him the number of Abongile, a former co-worker who had previously told him he could “assist” if anyone was after him.

Tongo met the witness in his silver VW Sharan soon after, where he explained that a foreign man had asked him to help find a hitman.

The witness was a hotel worker, who knew Tongo because the hotel often outsourced airport trips or tours to Tongo's shuttle company.

He was used as a go-between, to pass on messages.

The name and identity of the witness was withheld after an order by Judge Robert Henney, for fear of harm or intimidation.

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

Tongo was handed an effective 18-year sentence for his role in the plot.

Earlier, one of the accused, Xolile Mngeni, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, robbing and killing Dewani, as well as illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He refused to make any formal admissions, meaning the state would have to prove each fact in its case. - Sapa


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