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Moyo calls in co-accused as witness

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(File photo) )Escapee Bongani Moyo. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane, The Star

Escape artist Bongani Moyo on Wednesday called a co-accused to testify for him in his trial for escaping from the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on August 10 2011.

Moyo made international headlines when he vanished from the court, where he and three co-accused had been brought to appear on armed robbery charges.

Khumbulani Sibanda, one of Moyo's co-accused in the robbery, told the court that the investigating officer, Frederick Erasmus, came to the holding cells asking about a “Siyaya” (Toyota HiAce) taxi which had been used to commit armed robberies.

“He was being aggressive when he was asking me and I did not like it. He started off by asking the questions to Bongani before he came to me,” said Sibanda.

He said Moyo was sitting on a bench that day, not inside the cells with his co-accused and all the other inmates.

“Erasmus told me that if Moyo did not give him the information (concerning the taxi) he was going to book him out and 'he would never return again',” Sibanda testified.

“When Erasmus left me, that is when I realised that Bongani had left the bench; I saw that immediately afterwards,” said Sibanda.

Moyo alleged he escaped from the court because he was threatened with death by the investigating officer

He told the court that the investigating officer who was responsible for transporting him to and from court was there when he escaped.

He said when he walked out of the courtroom, the officer was nearby.

“When I was leaving and walking out (of court) he was there... he saw me.”

Erasmus flatly denied the allegations when he testified in March.

“That is a total, utter lie,” said Erasmus.

Donald Somo, for Moyo, said he would bring in more witnesses to testify after the court adjournment. Thabani Sibanda, another co-accused in the robbery case, is scheduled to be called in to testify on Wednesday.

Earlier, Moyo, Thabani Sibanda, Khumbulani Sibanda and Leon Ncube appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on a series of armed robbery charges.

The four confirmed to the court they had received documents informing them of the transfer of the trial to the High Court in Pretoria.

These documents include charge sheets and disclosure of a list of State witnesses.

Magistrate Maryke de la Rey informed the four that their case had been formally moved to the superior court, and set down for March 11 to 28 next year.

They were closely guarded by members of the police tactical response unit and numerous prison guards on Wednesday.

All four were all handcuffed and in leg irons, and will remain in custody.

Previously, the robbery case was postponed as the prosecution awaited instructions from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions on whether the four would be charged in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Moyo also faces another charge of attempting to escape from Pretoria Central Prison earlier this year, using prison overalls to scale the perimeter wall.

In March last year, Moyo escaped from the Boksburg prison. He was arrested almost three months later. – Sapa


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