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RIZWANA SHEIK UMAR
AFTER almost three years in custody, two women and a man on trial for the murders of eight homeless people in an alleged plot to defraud insurance companies are expected to finally hear their fate in the Durban High Court this week.
Alleged mastermind, Maryanne Tholile Dimba, with Linda Brenda Mdluli and Sibusiso Blessing Buthelezi, face 49 charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering, fraud and theft.
The State alleges that between November 2005 and March 2008, the co-accused fraudulently used lost or stolen identity documents to open bank accounts and take out insurance policies, making themselves the beneficiaries. It is alleged that they would kill a homeless person or a prostitute, identify them as the policyholder and make the claim.
According to the indictment, when the trio could not find a suitable person to kill, they would go to a mortuary in search of unidentified people, whom they claimed were their relatives.
All three have pleaded not guilty. The State argued that Dimba handled the administrative affairs, including making decisions about the people to be insured, which insurance companies the policies would be obtained from, and providing financial support to ensure the premiums were paid.
The court had heard that identity books belonging to dead people were found in Dimba’s possession and evidence of bank transactions, relating to the insurance policies obtained, were linked to her.
In her judgment, Judge Fikile Mokgohloa also cited cellphone evidence linking Dimba to four people whose identities were fraudulently used. It is alleged that Dimba took the largest portion of the proceeds and determined the share for Mdluli and Buthelezi.
Judgment is expected to continue today.