Soni turns the tables on Professor


Accused, Rajivee Soni.

Professor Mlungisi Sithebe testifying for the state had accused Soni of offering him R100 000 to kill Sewram and had produced a cellphone video clip that he had recorded allegedly of Soni pointing out Sewram’s Raisethorpe surgery to him.

The video consisted of two speakers discussing how the one had shot someone in the leg. The video was allegedly recorded by Professor Sithebe, who said he was approached by Soni to kill Sewram, but refused on the basis that he was a Christian. He alleged that he had tipped off Sewram on Soni’s plan to kill him and had recorded the video clip while in a car with Soni.

At the time the admissibility of the cellphone video footage became a sore point for Soni’s then defense lawyer Naren Sangham who said his client’s constitutional rights to a fair trial were being infringed, prompting him to wryly remark that the state’s case was “Fish and Chips”. The admissibility of the clip became a subject of a trial within a trial with Justice Jacqueline Hendricks eventually permitting the video to be entered into evidence.

On Tuesday Soni acknowledged knowing Sithebe since 2006 when he had contracted Envirowatch to provide security services for him.

“I then met Sithebe at Pick n’ Pay at Victoria road at the beginning of February 2013. He said he was back with Envirowatch and gave me a very cheap price for an armed guard as I told him I was unhappy with my current security company. We then swapped numbers and went our separate ways. In hindsight I’m not sure whether this was a coincidence or if the meeting was planned by Sithebe” said Soni.

The Mountain Rise businessman said Sithebe’s inexplicable actions and nervousness around him made him suspicious of Sithebe and that eventually Sithebe contacted him and asked him if he knew Sewram.

“Sithebe came through to the office and asked me if I knew Dr. Sewram.  I was shocked because I didn’t know they knew each other and asked him how he knew Bhavish. He then stated that he had been hired to do security for Bhavish and said he was offered R100 000 by him to sort me (Soni) out” testified the businessman adding that he  was very upset at this.

“I decided to contact Captain Pipes Haffajee and he advised me to set up a meeting with Sithebe where he [Pipes] would be present but every time I did, Sithebe never showed up” said Soni. According to Soni the two never met until he saw him in court.

Trial will resume on Thursday at 09:30

Byrone Athman

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