Cape Town – The three “life insurance policy killers” Pastor Melisizwe Monqo, 32, his wife Siphosihle Pamba, 26, and the hitman they hired, Phumlani Qusheka, 31, have received heavy sentences for the murder of Hlompho Mohapi (Koloi).
Monqo, Pamba and Qusheka, who killed Mohapi for a R3 million life insurance policy they had taken out on her behalf without her knowledge, were sentenced following their conviction on charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder.
Monqo, a pastor at God’s Work International Ministries was sentenced to life plus 252 years and three months imprisonment.
Pamba was sentenced to an effective 20 years imprisonment and Qhusheka received life plus 63 years.
All three accused were also declared unfit to own a firearm.
Monqo was convicted on 26 charges for Mohapi’s murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, housebreaking with intent to commit murder, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and 13 counts of fraud.
Pamba was convicted on 24 counts, which are similar to those of her husband.
Handing down judgement, Judge Taswell Papier said he was deviating from the prescribed minimum sentences for Pamba as she was also a victim who was abused by her husband and forced to participate in the crimes.
Judge Papier said that Pamba showed remorse, apologised to God, Mohapi’s family and society.
During the trial Pamba told the court that she deserved to die for the crimes she committed. She also did not participate in Mohapi’s gruesome murder.
Qhusheka was convicted on fewer charges, but they included Mohapi’s murder. The judge said that neither he nor Monqo showed remorse.
Mohapi’s cellphone was found in his possession and her DNA was found in his bloodied clothes although he continued to protest his innocence till the end of the trial.
This case involved a scam where Monqo and Pamba took out life insurance policies on behalf of members of their church, God’s Work International Ministries and together with Qhusheka, planned their murders in the hope of benefiting from the payouts.
Apart from Mohapi’s life insurance policy, they also procured life policies on behalf of Nomfundiso Booi, Anelisa Xhotyeni and Bulelwa Sihawu, all of whom were unaware that such life policies had been taken.
Pamba made the calls pretending to be the women.
Senior State Advocate Evadne Kortje obtained a centralisation certificate from the National Director of Public Prosecutions in order to prosecute the case.
Kortje called 36 witnesses including three witness who implicated the three accused in the crimes.
Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Nicolette Bell, commended Kortje and investigating officer Thembekile Matwa for the sterling work they have done over the past three years and four months.
“Sergeant Matwa criss-crossed two provinces collecting evidence, consulting witnesses and victims and brought all that evidence to Advocate Kortje.
“She managed to put together a complicated case, worked with emotional witnesses and successfully proved her case beyond reasonable doubt.