Husband killer Celiwe Mbokazi found guilty

CELIWE Mbokazi was yesterday found guilty of killing her husband Franz Richter.

CELIWE Mbokazi was yesterday found guilty of killing her husband Franz Richter.

Johannesburg high court Judge Piet Meyer convicted Mbokazi, 35, of murder and armed robbery after he found that the state had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she was involved in the killing.

Mbokazi cried hysterically when the judge refused to extend her R1000 bail. She had wanted to go home and make arrangements for her one-year-old daughter to move to her parents in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal.

In contrast, Richter's daughter, Gaby Burgmer, celebrated the verdict.

"She is where she belongs. It has been a nightmare for us throughout all these months. We are relieved that justice has been done," Burgmer said.

Richter, 80, was murdered in November 2007 while on his way to pay his employees at the Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift on the West Rand. He was attacked by three men who also robbed him of R23000 before shooting him.

He was travelling with Mbokazi and their three adopted children.

"The robbers would not have embarked on the robbery and ambush had they not known about the payment of employees, and if that information had not been divulged to accused number two by accused number four (Mbokazi)," said the judge.

In 2007 Mbokazi promised to pay co-accused Johnson Chirwa, Dumisani Xulu and Gilbert Mosadi R10000 to kill her husband and make it look like a robbery.

She stood to inherit a house, a R1million trust fund and unlimited access to Richter's ranch.

It was phone records reflecting five calls from Mbokazi to Xulu's cellphone just before the murder that proved her guilt. The two initially claimed never to have met or spoken to each other.

In her defence she claimed that the calls to Xulu were made from her landline and cellphone without her knowledge by Mazwi Ronnie Khumalo, her lover.

Judge Meyer acquitted Khumalo on all charges because the state failed to prove his guilt "though it was probable that he planned the killing with Xulu".