Panayiotou murder trial day 9 – Phone records create confusion for State witness

BY JESICA SLABBERT - OCTOBER 24, 2016

Again cell phone records dominated the first part of day nine of the murder trial against Port Elizabeth businessman, Christopher Panayiotou, and his two alleged accomplices, Sinethemba Nenembe and Zolani Sibeko, at the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday.

The trio are accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of the businessman’s wife Jayde, in April 2015.

The trial carried over from Friday with defence Advocate, Terry Price, cross-examining state witness Mawonga Ndedwa, a former employee at the OK Grocer in Algoa Park, which is owned by Panayiotou.

Ndedwa claims Panayiotou used his phone to contact alleged middleman, Luthando Siyoni, during the planning and execution of the murder.

When the trial commenced, Price asked Ndedwa if the weekend provided him with time to think over his evidence that Panayiotou had used his phone.

Ndedwa stated that he was now unsure as he remembered more than one occasion where he did not have his phone at night.

Price then said that phone records contradicted Ndedwa’s statement to the police.

To prove this, Price showed the court phone records from Panayiotou’s personal phone that showed many calls between him and Siyoni. He then asked why Panayiotou would want to use Ndedwa’s phone when he was using his own to call him all the time.

Price then continued to point out Ndedwa’s phone was in different locations to where Ndedwa had claimed Panayiotou made the calls.

“Ndedwa's phone has him at Algoa Park, while Chris was at St Thomas. At the time, Ndedwa claimed Chris had his phone, there were even calls between them,” said Price.

Ndedwa maintained that every call made to Siyoni, was made by Panayiotou.

 The State Prosecutor then asked Ndedwa if he knew about any other phones Siyoni might have had, and showed that they only displayed calls from one of Panayiotou’s phone, there were others as well, and the landline at OK Grocers.

Ndedwa stated that he did not even know Siyoni’s number in the first place.

The State had no further questions and Ndedwa was allowed to leave the stand after three days of questioning.

The trial continues.