SA police attempted to 'trick' Dewani into returning: report

SA police attempted to 'trick' Dewani into returning: report

Documents marked "confidential", which have been seen by the Observer, reveal how South African authorities reached a secret plea bargain with the principal witness against Dewani and then attempted to lure him to Cape Town on false pretences, while intending that he would face trial.

The Bristol-based businessman is accused by South African police of arranging the killing of his Swedish-born NRI wife Anni on 13 November last year. She was shot after the apparent hijacking of their taxi in a township in Cape Town. Her body was later found in the abandoned car. Dewani, 31, had been released unharmed.

His extradition hearing on May 3 will continue on a later date, to allow time for a psychiatric report on Dewani's condition to be compiled. The millionaire care home owner was detained in a secure mental health hospital after magistrates in London heard he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dewani was admitted to Fromeside, in Bristol, after he was removed from the Priory. According to the documents, taken from the Western Cape's directorate for priority crime investigations, the couple's driver, Zola Tongo, claimed in a plea bargain read out in the Cape high court on December 7 that Dewani had paid him 1,000 rand (90 pounds) to organise the killing of his 28-year-old wife.

The documents show that Tongo, 31, had agreed the plea bargain two weeks earlier on 21 November. The same day, prosecutors asked Dewani to visit Cape Town to identify his wife's jewellery.

The documents also indicate that Tongo's plea bargain, including a jail sentence of 25 years, with seven suspended, was agreed in little more than a day. The documents state: "By late Sunday evening it had been agreed that Zola Tongo would plead guilty to kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. In return he would make a full disclosure of his participation in the crime and agree to testify against Shrien Dewani at later trial proceedings."

Officials asked Dewani, who was oblivious of the allegations against him, to return to the country as soon as possible to inspect his late wife's belongings. The paperwork states: "He was requested to return to Cape Town this week to identify the recovered jewellery."

A source close to the investigation said: "It appears this was a plan to usurp the extradition process and a bid to trick Dewani back to South Africa. Dewani felt it was too soon to return to the place where his wife was murdered."

Since then, however, the South African authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Dewani. South African police claim they have evidence, including CCTV video, mobile phone records and witness statements, that, they say, implicates him in the murder.

A friend of the Dewani family said: "He is determined to clear his name and has told doctors that he wants to get better and find out the truth of what happened." He also praised the Foreign Office and urged officials to ensure that Dewani's rights continue to be protected.

High court documents reveal that Dewani has co-operated fully with the investigation, including giving police the password to his BlackBerry, which was stolen but is thought to have been recovered. However, South African police have so far declined to question him over the allegations.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, and Xolile Mngeni, 23, have also been charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery. Both deny involvement.

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