GEORGE NEWS - The Hlompho Mohapi (Koloi) murder trial resumed in the George Circuit High Court on Monday morning, 3 May. The state closed their case in February this year after their final witnesses took to the stand.
On Monday accused number one, pastor Melisiswe Monqo (33), testified about his version of the events that lead to Mohapi's brutal murder on 5 July 2018.
In his testimony Monqo said that the reason his phone, and that of his wife and co-accused, Siphosihle Pamba, who were both staying in Thembalethu at that stage, were picked up by the Moeras River cellphone tower on the day of Mohapi's death, was because he left his phone charging in the Silver Suzuki that took Mohapi to Herold's Bay earlier that day.
According to him he was not in the vehicle that picked up Mohapi at the hiking spot in Thembalethu.
Later that day he was apparently asked by Pamba to take her to the chemist as their child was not well. According to Monqo, who is originally from the Eastern Cape, he then went to Herold's Bay in search of a chemist and when he could not find one he went to George.
That, he said, is why both their phones were picked up by the Moeras River tower at approximately 17:58 on the day Mohapi's body was found by a fisherman on the Voëlklip road.
The Moeras River tower covers the area west of the George Airport near Herold's Bay. A signal from Monqo's phone was also picked up by the same tower at 12:50 that day.
In both the testimonies of Mohapi's brother and boyfriend last year, the court heard that Monqo was identified as the driver of the silver Suzuki that was allegedly taking Mohapi to an interview at the George airport - an interview for a fabricated job in an attempt to lure Mohapi to her death.
Life and funeral policies worth nearly R5-million were taken out on her name shortly before she was murdered. During his testimony Monqo also said that he told his wife to lie to the detective, Sgt Thembekile Matwa, about where she found Mohapi's phone - the same phone that was found on their co-accused, Phumlani Quesheka, when he was arrested on 7 July 2018.
According to Monqo he told Pamba to tell Matwa that she picked up the phone near a spaza shop in Thembalethu and gave it to Quesheka. He further told the court that he assaulted his wife on many occasions and that at one stage Pamba drank poison and was rushed to hospital.
Murder was not his idea
According to Monqo he knew about the plan to kill Mohapi, but he was not physically involved. The court heard that Mohapi's murder, along with the three earlier attempted murders in the Eastern Cape in which Monqo is also a suspect, as well as the life and funeral policies that were taken out on the names of the various victims, were all masterminded by Nomfundiso Booi, a member of his church whom he had an affair with in the Eastern Cape.
However, on Monday Monqo testified that he was threatened by Booi who, according to him, told him that she will "remove his manhood and pour acid on his face" if he did not leave his wife for her [Booi]. She allegedly told him that she would harm his children and his family as well if he didn't do as she told him.
Monqo told the court that Booi forced him to frame his wife by forcing her in turn to take out a life insurance policy on her [Booi's] name, after which they would stage a scene for the police to investigate and arrest Pamba.
This way he could get divorced and be with Booi.
This, he said, was the reason why Monqo and another man, who became a Section 204 witness, broke into Booi's house in May 2018. According to Monqo they had no firearms with them.
However, during the aforesaid witness' testimony last year, the court heard that Monqo offered him and co-accused Pumlani Quesheka money to murder Booi.
He explained how the two of them and Monqo tracked down Booi in Queenstown in an attempt to kill her.
Life and funeral policies had also been taken out on Booi's name. During her testimony in court last year she said that she had no knowledge of any policies taken out on her name.
Monqo completed his testimony on Tuesday morning, 4 May, and was cross examined by Pamba's legal representative, Adv Scholtz and state Adv. Evadne Kortjé for the remainder of Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
The case serves in front of Honourable Judge Taswell Papier. Att Louise Luterek represents Quesheka.
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