Anni Dewani murder accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe was driving a taxi he “hijacked” when he heard a single gunshot coming from the back. He got scared and stopped the vehicle.
When he turned around he saw Dewani had been shot , Xolile Mngeni, his accomplice, was looking for the bullet casing.
Qwabe found the casing and, as he and Mngeni were running away through Khayelitsha, he threw it into a drain.
This is what happened on the night Dewani was killed, according to an affidavit by the case’s investigating officer Paul Hendrikse.
The affidavit, providing the most detailed account yet of Dewani’s last moments, was read out on Wednesday when Qwabe appeared in the Wynberg Regional Court for a bail application.
He said in court he intended to plead not guilty to the five charges he faces.
But the affidavit then painted a very different picture.
Hendrikse said the information he had gathered corroborated the information Zola RobertTongo, who drove the Dewanis around while they were in Cape Town, revealed during his plea and sentencing agreement about two months ago.
Tongo, who has since been sentenced to 18 years in jail for his role in the murder, was so far the only person who appeared to have had direct dealings with Shrien Dewani, suspected of masterminding his wife’s murder on November 13 in Gugulethu.
Qwabe’s appearance yesterday comes six days ahead of UK court proceedings relating to Shrien Dewani’s extradition to South Africa.
Hendrikse’s affidavit said Qwabe was arrested on November 18. Later that day he confessed to a police officer.
Hendrikse said Qwabe admitted that the day before Dewani’s murder another suspect in the case, Monde Mbolombo, contacted him.
Mbolombo told Qwabe that Tongo would call him about a job.
Tongo called Qwabe and the two, as well as the fourth local suspect, Mngeni, met in Khayelitsha. “Tongo told Qwabe that he would bring a couple into the township and that the husband wanted the wife killed, and that they had to make it look like a hijacking and robbery,” Hendrikse’s affidavit detailing Qwabe’s confession read.
It said Tongo had explained to Qwabe and Mngeni what route he would take and said he would call them when he left the Cape Grace Hotel with the Dewanis.
But he had called later than expected and when Qwabe and Mngeni got to Gugulethu,Tongo was already on the way to Somerset West with the Dewanis.
According to Hendrikse, Qwabe confessed that Tongo had told him Dewani “wanted the job done that same evening”.
Qwabe and Mngeni returned to Khayelitsha and Tongo then called Qwabe saying he and the Dewanis were at a restaurant.
According to Hendrikse, at about 11pm Tongo sent Qwabe an SMS saying he was driving the Dewanis into Gugulethu.
Qwabe and Mngeni, who had a firearm, then “hijacked” Tongo’s taxi at the pre-arranged spot.
While Qwabe drove, Mngeni sat in the front passenger seat.
The affidavit said Qwabe confessed that before he let Tongo out of the vehicle, he had told them the R15 000 Dewani had promised for the hit was behind the front passenger seat.
Qwabe and Mngeni then drove to Kuyasa in Khayelitsha where they let Shrien Dewani out of the vehicle.
“While (Qwabe was driving) he heard a single shot... He got scared and nervous and parked the vehicle… He got out and saw Mngeni looking for the bullet shell and... (Qwabe)found the casing and threw it in a drain while they were running away,” the affidavit read.
It said Mngeni had given Qwabe the firearm on November 14, the day the abandoned taxi with Dewani’s body on the backseat was discovered.
Hendrikse’s affidavit said a day after his arrest, Qwabe pointed out where the hijacking took place, where Tongo and Dewani were dropped off and where the vehicle was abandoned.
Qwabe had also pointed out where he had thrown the bullet casing and a police officer had found it.
It said Qwabe told police what he had done with the murder weapon and affidavits from two people, who had kept the firearm for him and who were now State witnesses, had been obtained.
The recovered firearm and cartridge had been linked to Dewani’s murder through ballistic examination.
Hendrikse said it appeared there was little difference between Qwabe’s confession and information contained in Tongo’s plea and sentencing agreement.
Hendrikse’s affidavit on Wednesday revealed details about Mbolombo, the only suspect in the case whose whereabouts police are yet to divulge.
It said Mbolombo confirmed that Tongo approached him on November 12 “looking for a hitman” and saying “there was a guy who wanted his wife murdered”.
Hendrikse said Mbolombo had given Tongo Qwabe’s cellphone number.
The affidavit said two witnesses had seen Mngeni, Tongo and Qwabe together in Tongo’s car outside Mngeni’s house hours before Dewani was killed.
“A further witness will testify that he gave Qwabe and a person introduced as Wati a lift on November 13 at approximately 10pm from Khayelitsha to… Gugulethu, and that Qwabe told him they were going to meet friends who were driving from Somerset West,” his affidavit said.
“Telephone records also confirm the contact between Tongo, Mbolombo and Qwabe.”
Hendrikse’s affidavit said Mngeni was arrested two days after Dewani’s murder as fingerprints lifted from the hijacked vehicle matched his. “At the time of his arrest he was found in possession of Tongo’s phone.”
Hendrikse said the next day Mngeni confessed to his role in the murder and Mngeni’s aunt found items stolen from Dewani hidden in his room.
“Mngeni also admitted that he had sold (Anni Dewani’s) Blackberry... to a schoolteacher.
The teacher has confirmed in an affidavit that Mngeni sold the telephone to her,” the affidavit said.
It emerged Qwabe had previously been arrested on an attempted murder charge.
The charge was provisionally withdrawn on March 23 last year.
Qwabe pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, kidnapping, the illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.
Mngeni and Qwabe are expected to appear in court together on February 25.
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