FOUR of the accused in the Franz Richter murder have denied trying to bribe a policeman to steal their case docket, saying they thought they were talking to a lawyer.
Johnson Chirwa, Gilbert Mosadi, Vincent Dlamini and Dumisani Xulu face, on top of the murder charge, a corruption charge for allegedly offering a court orderly R15000 to steal the docket from court.
Defence counsel Advocate Ludwe Biyana made these claims in the Johannesburg high court yesterday during cross-examination of the investigating officer and final state witness Inspector Braam Joubert.
When asked what led to Richter's wife Celiwe Mbokazi being a suspect in the murder, Joubert said he found her sim card with one of her co-accused.
Joubert told the court that accused number one voluntarily told the police to search his clothes and that they would find something that belonged to the deceased's wife.
He said he had used phone records to see if there was any communication between the five accused before the killing.
Mbokazi and her lover and child's father Ronnie Khumalo allegedly hired Chirwa, Mosadi, Dlamini and Xulu to murder her 80-year-old husband in 2007.
Mbokazi was pregnant with Khumalo's child at the time as a result of their affair.
Richter was gunned down outside the gate of his property, the Heia Safari ranch in Muldersdrift, while travelling with Mbokazi and their two adopted children.
In a statement he made to the police, Chirwa said they had an accomplice who worked at the ranch who told them to rob Richter as he was carrying a large amount of money when he was killed.