Richter murder accused freed

THE lover of Celiwe Mbokazi, the woman accused of killing her rich elderly husband, walked free yesterday.

The state evidence presented to the Johannesburg high court was not enough to convict Mazwi Khumalo for the murder of businessman Franz Richter, 80, in 2007.

Mbokazi will know her fate today.

Judge Piet Meyer found that the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Khumalo was involved in the murder though he had been "the most unreliable, evasive and untruthful witness".

"Lies and improbabilities do not establish the guilt of the accused. The question is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he was involved in the crime," the judge said.

The only evidence linking Khumalo to the crime was a confession statement by co-accused Dumisani Xulu, which by law could not be used against him, and phone calls made from Mbokazi's cellphone, which he owned up to.

"Phone record evidence does not create a sufficient basis on which to convict him. Accused two and four had known each other for a long time. They both come from eShowe and used to phone and visit each other while living and working in Johannesburg," the judge said.

Meanwhile, Judge Meyer found Johnson Chirwa, Gilbert Mosadi and Dumisani Xulu guilty.

Mbokazi allegedly offered them R10000 each to kill Richter.

Passing judgment Judge Meyer said the three men had not only been proven guilty by their confessions but by the excessive evidence against them presented during the trial.

"All witnesses who testified in respect of accused one, two and three were good, credible, coherent and satisfactory. The commission of these offences have been proven by evidence other than your confessions."