Dewani trial: Middleman admits playing a lead role in Anni’s murder

Mbolombo was excused from the witness stand on Monday following hours of cross-examination.

Anni Dewani was murdered in Cape Town on 13 November, 2010 . Picture: The Anni Dewani (Hindocha) Case Facebook page

CAPE TOWN - Former hotel receptionist, Monde Mbolombo, admitted to playing a lead role in the plot to kill Anni Hindocha Dewani, despite his co-conspirators insisting he was nothing more than a middleman.

Mbolombo was excused from the witness stand on Monday following hours of cross-examination.

He was the latest witness in the state's case against Anni's husband, Shrien Dewani, who is accused of ordering a hit on his wife while on honeymoon in Cape Town during November 2010.

He has denied all charges against him.

Mbolombo admitted he was more than "just a middleman".

Judge Jeanette Traverso asked him why did his co-conspirators refer to him as just the link between taxi driver Zola Tongo and hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe?

Mbolombo replied he didn't know.

During cross-examination, Dewani's lawyer, Francois van Zyl, again suggested Anni had been killed during a hostage situation gone awry.

He summarised days of questioning by saying he did not know where Mbolombo's lies stopped and where the truth began.

The investigating officer is expected to take the stand this morning.

WAS 5TH PERSON INVOLVED IN ANNI DEWANI'S MURDER?

On Monday, Van Zyl asked Mbolombo if a fifth unnamed person was involved in the murder.

Van Zyl asked Mbolombo what he meant when he told one of his co-conspirators in a telephone conversation that five people were involved in the plot.

Mbolombo said he can't remember why he said that.

When Van Zyl asked whether Dewani was the fifth person, as Tongo previously testified, Mbolombo agreed he could be but wasn't sure.

MBOLOMBO QUESTIONED ABOUT FALSE NAME

Names and nicknames have proven to be a contentious issue in the trial.

Since the trial began, it emerged Tongo initially told police he didn't know the names of his co-conspirators.

In another twist, Dewani said he knew Tongo by his middle name 'Robert', even though Tongo denies using that name.

Now, Mbolombo said he referred to Qwabe as 'Abongile' because he couldn't remember his real name at the time he put him in touch with Tongo.

Unconvinced, Van Zyl intimated Mbolombo used a fictitious name to try and protect Qwabe.