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Cape Town - A Kenyan legal consultant is among those paying the legal fees of a man on trial for Anni Dewani's murder, his lawyer said on Monday.
Xolile Mngeni's private lawyer, Qalisile Dayimani, revealed that a “Mr Edmondo” working independently in Kenya, and other practising advocates, had approached him with funding offers on the basis of “human rights issues”.
Dayimani said one of these issues was that his client had developed a malignant brain tumour in the time leading up to his trial.
Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Dewani was killed on November 13, 2010, in Gugulethu while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien.
Last week Dayimani laughed off a rumour that he was being funded by Shrien, who various witnesses had said masterminded a plot to have her killed. The United Kingdom businessman had repeatedly denied this allegation, amidst an extradition process to have him stand trial in Cape Town.
He was being treated in the United Kingdom for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and was due to appear at an extradition hearing on September 18.
At the end of last year, Mngeni elected to use a private lawyer instead of the Legal Aid lawyer who had been representing him in the Wynberg Regional Court.
His family was said to be in financial difficulties, which raised the question of where the money was coming from for his legal fees.
Dayimani previously revealed he was working on a partly funded, partly pro-bono basis.
He explained on Monday that he never would have accepted funding assistance if he had known there was a link to the Dewanis. Asked how he knew there was not a link, he said he had established this during consultations.
“I had to establish that fact... I had established. And to me, the point was Mr Mngeni's health and what transpired at the stage when he was detained, all those issues... that relate to his health.”
The lawyer admitted the private funding was not up to date.
“They are not. I'm struggling now with funds because, look, I'm out of office for the whole of the week and that affects (me). So it's not as if I'm fully briefed financially, but I've taken it upon myself to conclude the trial.”
Mngeni's trial continues on Tuesday. - Sapa