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WIFE DENIES ordering tourism mogul's hit

By unknown | Apr 17, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

The wife of murdered tourism mogul Franz Richter has pleaded not guilty to murder but provided no alibi or plea explanation.

Celiwe Mbokazi, 35, allegedly hired Mazwi Khumalo - a man with whom she was having an affair - Tshepo Chirwa, Dumisani Xulu, Gilbert Mosadi and Vincent Dlamini to rob and shoot her elderly husband.

They all pleaded not guilty but provided no explanations.

Khumalo admitted to having impregnated Mbokazi but said he knew nothing about the killing.

"I had an affair with Celiwe, it started after she had broken up with another man. I am the father of her child and I was under the impression that her husband knew about the paternity of the child. I didn't know anything about his will," he said.

Richter, who was the founder and owner of Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift, has been described as one of the pioneers of game tourism in South Africa.

The state alleges that in November 2007, Mbokazi offered the five men R10000 each if they killed her husband.

She then allegedly phoned them two days before the murder to inform them that her husband would be paying his employees and would have about R40000 on him. She suggested that they kill and rob him to make it look like a robbery.

On the morning of November 28, Richter was travelling with Mbokazi, their adopted children and an employee when four men, armed with guns, demanded money from him. They robbed him of about R23000 and shot him several times before they fled. They were arrested hours later.

The accused are faced with an additional charge of corruption after allegedly offering a police officer working as a court orderly R15000 for him to steal their case docket.


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