Sunday, December 12, 2010

This man nailed DEWANI...

2010-12-12 13:00

Here he is – the middle man who ­recruited two young hitmen from Khayelitsha to kill Swedish tourist Anni Dewani.

Monde Mbolombo, a receptionist at the Protea Hotel Colosseum in Cape Town, is the key state ­witness in the case against ­Dewani’s husband, Shrien, who ­allegedly paid R15?000 for the hit.

Mbolombo has been granted indemnity from prosecution and will not be spending any time in jail if he testifies truthfully in Anni ­Dewani’s murder trial.

At 5.35pm on the day Anni was killed, Mbolombo posted the ­following message in Xhosa on his Facebook page: “Jengokuba undibilisela amanzi, awakho ayatsholoza,” which means “you are plotting against me, but there is bigger trouble coming for you”.

City Press has reliably learned how police used the so-called ­domino strategy – the same method used by the Scorpions to nail former police boss Jackie Selebi – to make a breakthrough in the case.

After forensically linking one of the shooters to the crime scene, police arrested Xolile Mnguni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe for shooting Anni, and they then implicated ­Mbolombo as the man who ­recruited them.

After being apprehended by the police, Mbolombo began to sing.

According to colleagues, he ­“disappeared” from work for three weeks.

Mbolombo’s brother, Patrick, ­declined to speak to City Press this week, but said his brother was definitely not in custody and was co-operating fully with police.

Mbolombo has given the police a full witness statement that implicates shuttle driver Zola Tongo as well as Shrien Dewani.

This statement was used to ­convince Tongo, who met Mbolombo at the Colosseum Hotel, from where he was also operating, to enter into a plea ­bargain agreement with the state.

Tongo was sentenced this week to 18 years in prison in return for making an affidavit implicating Shrien Dewani in the hit on his wife by allegedly ordering it.

Dewani is fighting his ­extradition to South Africa to face trial after he was released on bail of £250?000 (R2.7?million) by the London High Court on Friday.

»?In an interview with City Press on Friday a close relative of ­Mnguni said he was approached by Qwabe “because they needed a trigger man and knew that he was capable”.

Qwabe lives a few houses away from Mnguni in ­Khayelitsha.

Mnguni was out on bail in ­another murder case when he allegedly killed Anni Dewani. Days after the ­murder, Mnguni boasted in a Khayelitsha tavern about his ­“successful job”.

A family member who did not want to be named said: “He always beats these cases. He always comes back, so he is not really worried about this one either. The only thing he was worried about was ­being held in Bellville. He wanted to be in Pollsmoor and now that he is there he is back to normal.”

»?National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele ­confirmed yesterday that police were ­investigating a potential link ­between the murder of Anni Dewani and the assassination in October 2007 of popular King William’s Town doctor, Pox Raghavjee. Raghavjee was a friend of Shrien Dewani’s family and his son, ­Krischen, lives in Bristol, close to the Dewanis.

When City Press visited Alvita Raghavjee, Krischen’s wife, on ­Friday at the Bristol travel agency she works at, Alvita, visibly upset, refused to ­discuss the matter and chased City Press out of the shop.

It has been disclosed that Shrien allegedly told Tongo he had arranged a hit in South Africa before.

Pox Raghavjee’s wife, Heather, was in the UK this week visiting family, and she visited Shrien in Cape Town shortly after Anni’s murder. The police in Eastern Cape want to interview her as she was the complainant in her husband’s murder case. – Additional reporting by Paddy Harper
- City Press