De­wani: po­lice probe East­ern Cape hit link

Ac­cused knew widow of mur­dered doc­tor


SHRIEN DE­WANI walked out of a London court yes­ter­day – on bail of R2.7 mil­lion. But now East­ern Cape po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether he was in­volved in the hi­jack­ing and shoot­ing of a King Wil­liam’s Town doc­tor three years ago.

De­wani, who was ac­cused in a dra­matic plea bar­gain by Cape Town taxi driver Zola Tongo this week of ar­rang­ing the hi­jack­ing and murder of his bride Anni in Gugulethu four weeks ago for R15 000, was ar­rested by Bri­tish po­lice on Wed­nes­day.

The mil­lion­aire care home owner was re­leased on bail from London’s Wandsworth prison last night. He will wear an elec­tronic tag and is un­der strict cur­few as the South African govern­ment pre­pares to have him ex­tra­dited to face trial here.

Togo also said that De­wani, hus­band of mur­dered Anni De­wani, told the taxi driver that he had pre­vi­ously ar­ranged for some­one to be killed in a fake hi­jack­ing in South Africa.

King Wil­liam’s Town po­lice are now try­ing to link De­wani’s al­leged re­mark to the un­solved murder of Dr Pox Raghav­jee in Oc­to­ber 2007.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter Anni’s murder, Raghav­jee’s widow, Heather Raghav­jee, came to Cape Town to com­fort De­wani.

Po­lice spokesman Cap­tain Thozama Solani con­firmed they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing if there were any links be­tween the two mur­ders.

“The case re­mains open and has re­mained a mys­tery to us be­cause even though there was a R100 000 re­ward of­fered there were no leads. But in the light of the new in­for­ma­tion we are putting all we have got into solv­ing the case.”

At the time of the doc­tor’s death, po­lice were un­able to es­tab­lish a mo­tive for his killing as his cell­phone, watch and wal­let with R500 in it were found on the scene.

The fol­low­ing year the fam­ily hired a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor but no leads were found.

King Wil­liam’s Town busi­ness­man Peter Dhaya, a close fam­ily friend of the De­wa­nis, is the man who drove Heather Raghav­jee to Cape Town on the Mon­day morn­ing af­ter Shrien’s fa­ther Prakash De­wani told them of his daugh­terin-law’s murder.

Dhaya told Week­end Ar­gus they had come to Cape Town to sup­port and com­fort Shrien. And he con­firmed that Prakash and his fam­ily had vis­ited King Wil­liam’s Town in De­cem­ber and stayed with him.

Mean­while, Tongo’s fam­ily has “humbly apol­o­gised” to Anni De­wani’s fam­ily and the coun­try for his role in her murder.

Yes­ter­day his aunt, Nok­wanda Tongo, said the fam­ily of­fered con­do­lences to Anni’s fam­ily.

“We know it will not bring your child back. We humbly apol­o­gise for Zola’s role.”

She also apol­o­gised to the coun­try for the dam­age the case has caused its rep­u­ta­tion.

She and Tongo’s mother, Liziwe, planned to visit him in prison to­day.

“We are in shock and would like some an­swers,” she said.

Tongo’s aunt said his mother was too trau­ma­tised to speak to the me­dia. She was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal for a week af­ter she heard that her son had been ar­rested.

“This is a huge shock for all of us that Zola could be in­volved in some­thing like this. He comes from a good fam­ily. He worked hard and was quiet. He was not a crim­i­nal and was not in­volved in crimes or with gang­sters. We are all ask­ing ques­tions – why did he do it?”

De­wani, fol­low­ing the Bri­tish court’s de­ci­sion to grant him bail, is now free to fight his ex­tra­di­tion to South Africa from home.

In the Western Cape High Court ear­lier this week, Tongo said that De­wani of­fered to pay him R15 000 for Anni’s murder.

Tongo claimed he was told to make it look like a hi­jack­ing as they drove through Gugulethu.

In a plea-bar­gain agree­ment, Tongo was sen­tenced to an ef­fec­tive 18 years for murder, kid­nap­ping, rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances and per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice.

De­wani handed him­self to po­lice in Bris­tol and ap­peared in the City of West­min­ster Mag­is­trate’s Court on a charge of con­spir­acy to com­mit murder, hours af­ter Tongo’s state­ment was read in the Western Cape High Court .

Two other men, Xo­lile Mn­guni, 23, and Mzi­wa­madoda Qwabe, 25, face charges of murder, ag­gra­vated rob­bery and kid­nap­ping.

They are ex­pected to ap­pear in court in Fe­bru­ary.

A fourth sus­pect, Monde Mbolombo, who used to work for Protea Ho­tel Colos­seum, was named in court pa­pers as the link be­tween Tongo and the two al­leged gun­men.

FREE, FOR NOW: Shrien De­wani is out on R2.7m bail.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.