PORT ELIZABETH - Nearly 6 months after his immunity from prosecution was revoked, the self-confessed middleman who helped arrange the murder of Port Elizabeth school teacher Jayde Panayiotou on behalf of her husband Christopher, was arrested on Monday in Kwazakhele.
Hawks spokesperson, Captain Anelisa Feni confirmed the arrest and said Luthando Siyoni would face a charge of murder.
Feni said the arrest happened at around 2pm on Monday.
Siyoni, who had worked for Christopher, is expected to make his first appearance in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Siyoni confessed to his role in sourcing a hitman, and implicated Panayiotou as the one behind the plan to have his wife murdered.
In his Section 204 statement, Siyoni described how he had been approached by Panayiotou to find a hitman to murder his wife, and how, after a few failed attempts, he had contracted Sizwe Vumazonke to commit the act. Vumazonke subsequently died in hospital.
In an undercover police sting operation, Panayiotou paid Siyoni R4,550 and implicated himself in his wife's murder.
But Siyoni, who was meant to be the prosecution’s star witness, recanted his statements made to police and refused to answer any of State Advocate Marius Stander's questions during a trial-within-a-trial.
Siyoni’s about-turn followed that of his girlfriend Babalwa Breakfast who was arrested last year and charged with perjury after she deviated from her statement to police in which she had said her boyfriend had told her about Panayiotou’s alleged plans to have his wife, Jayde, killed.
Siyoni and Breakfast were both subsequently declared hostile witnesses.
His lawyer had advised him not to answer any questions that could incriminate him on the stand, even though a Section 204 is expected to be truthful about the events in question.
Siyoni’s conduct was criticised by Judge Dayalin Chetty who, in his judgment, called his testimony "a cocktail of lies, perjury and contrivances" designed to advance Panayiotou's defence.
In November last year, Panayiotou and Sinethemba Nenembe were found guilty of Jayde's murder, while Zolani Sibeko was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.
Jayde Panayiotou went missing on April 21, 2015.
She was abducted outside her Stellen Glen Complex in Kabega Park while waiting for her lift and subsequently murdered on the outskirts of KwaNobuhle.
African News Agency/ANA