Accused says if R800k deposit was for AKA hit, why has the source of payment not been arrested

08 April 2024 - 14:08
By Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Mziwethemba Harvey Gwabeni, 36, who has been identified as an alleged ‘co-ordinator’ in connection with the deaths of Kiernan 'AKA' Forbes and Tebello 'Tibz' Motsoane in Durban in February last year.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU Mziwethemba Harvey Gwabeni, 36, who has been identified as an alleged ‘co-ordinator’ in connection with the deaths of Kiernan 'AKA' Forbes and Tebello 'Tibz' Motsoane in Durban in February last year.

The alleged mastermind behind the murder of Kiernan “AKA” Forbes in February last year has questioned why Sidney Mfunda Gcaba hasn’t been arrested and brought to court if an R800,000 deposit was payment for a hit, as alleged by the state.

This comes after Gcaba was named as the person who deposited more than R800,000 into the bank account of businessman Mziwethemba Gwabeni, 36, a day after the rapper was murdered.

Gwabeni is one of five accused who applied for bail this week in the Durban magistrate's court. They are charged with killing AKA and his friend, chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, outside Wish restaurant on Florida Road.

The other accused are brothers Lindani Ndimande, 35, Lindokuhle Ndimande, 29, Siyanda Myeza, 21, and Lindokuhle Mkhwanazi, 30. They are facing two counts of murder, five of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of unlawful firearms and possession of unlawful ammunition.

Two other Ndimande brothers, Siyabonga and Malusi, are in jail in Eswatini pending an extradition application by South Africa.

In court Gwabeni said the state’s case against him consists of the investigating officer (IO) Kumarasan Pillay taking bits and pieces of evidence which he believes is suitable for his case, joining them together with his theories and thereafter presenting them to the court.

In so doing, Gwabeni said, Pillay has attempted to mislead the court and has departed from his duty as an IO to investigate objectively by leaving out evidence favourable to him.

Pillay had said the money was transferred from a bank account of the company Bright Circle, of which Gcaba is the sole director.

When the money was transferred, a “consult” reference was used.

Pillay said this was done to disguise the purpose for which the funds were transferred, suspected to be payment for the killing.

“If the state honestly believed this and if it had any evidence, not conjecture, then I would have expected Gcaba would have been arrested and would have been a co-accused. The fact is he is not a co-accused and the state has not taken this court into its confidence and disclosed why they have chosen not to arrest him.

“As stated in my founding affidavit, I am involved in the coal mining industry and consult with different parties. The reference accompanying the deposit of R800,000 into my account, namely ‘consult’, is corroboration of this fact,” said Gwabeni.

He said the reason Gcaba hasn’t been arrested is that there is no evidence against him except for the payment of R800,000.00 into his account for services rendered.

Gwabeni said though Pillay told the court cellphone records placed him in the vicinity of Florida Road at the time of the shooting, he cannot recall his exact whereabouts.

He said Florida Road is considered one of the premier nightspots in Durban with notable restaurants such as Zai, El Cubana and Dukkah.

“Importantly, Pillay does not share with this court exactly what he means by in the vicinity of Florida Road, and by that I mean nowhere in his affidavit does he state whether cellphone records place an individual 5m, 50m, 100m or even 1,000m away from any particular spot.”

Pillay alleged after receiving R800,000.00 from Gcaba’s company, Gwabeni transferred R665,000 to the other accused and the two brothers in Eswatini, excluding Myeza.

He said the following amounts were transferred:

  • R133,000 to Lindokuhle Ndimande's Standard Bank account;
  • R133,000 to Malusi Ndimande's Capitec account;
  • R100,000 to Lindani Ndimande's FNB account and R33,000 into his Capitec account;
  • R100,000 to Mkhwanazi's Standard Bank account and R33,000 to his spouse Hlengiwe Princess Mkhwanazi's Capitec account; and
  • R33,000 to Siyabonga Gezani Ndimande’s Capitec account and R100,000 to an Absa account.

He said Gwabeni retained the remaining R138,455.

On the same day, Pillay said Gwabeni transferred R96,000 to St Benedict School in Pinetown, where one of his children is a pupil.

However, Gwabeni denied being with his co-accused on February 11 and said he was at home but could not comment on what the other accused were doing or where they might have been.

Gwabeni admitted to having transferred money to his co-accused and said he had not paid them for some time as the nature of his work is that the supply of money is not always constant.

He said the state failed to allege any motive on his part for wanting the deceased killed.

The applicants' case was closed, and the matter was adjourned to May 2 for argument.