Pastor convicted of murder took out life insurance policies on church members
The pastor convicted of murdering Hlompo Koloi in order to benefit from life insurance policies they took out on her behalf – without her knowledge – was also convicted of the attempted murder of Nomfundiso Booi, which involved several attempts.
The cases involved a scam whereby Melisiswe Monqo, the 32-year-old pastor at God’s Work International Ministries, and his 26-year-old wife, Siphoshile Pamba, took out life insurance policies on behalf of church members and an ex-lover, and had planned their murders with the intent to benefit from the policies, Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said in a statement.
In Koloi’s case, they took out two life insurance policies – one worth R3 million and the other worth R200 000, as well as a funeral policy worth R50 000.
They also took out life insurance policies on behalf of Booi, Anelisa Xhotyeni and Bulelwa Sihawu. Aside from being unaware that such life policies were taken on their behalf, the quartet were not beneficiaries of such policies. In fact, they never called the insurance companies to make such arrangements – Pamba had made the calls pretending to be from an insurance company.
The prosecutor, senior State advocate Evadne Kortje, told the court during the trial that several attempts were made on Booi’s life, including shooting her while she was with her mother and children at their Ezibeleni home in Queenstown, Eastern Cape.
Monqo also attacked her with a knife in broad daylight on June 22, 2017 while she was walking from work, but luckily survived. Xhotyeni and Sihawu also learnt during the investigation that they had insurance policies taken out on their behalf.
The Western Cape High Court convicted Monqo, Pamba and the hitman, Phumlani Qhusheka, on charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder of Koloi. They were also convicted with defeating or obstruction of the course of justice.
The trio was also convicted on charges of housebreaking in order to commit murder and the attempted murder of Booi, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition. They were also convicted of the conspiracy to murder Booi.
Monqo was convicted on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following an attack on Booi, theft and contravention of a protection order. Monqo and his wife were separately convicted on 13 counts of fraud.
’’The well-calculated scam was proceeding well until the afternoon of 5 July, 2018, when a lone fisherman, Francois Gerber, on his way to fish at Herold’s Bay, found the body of Koloi lying on the side of Voëlklip gravel road,’’ Ntabazalila said.
’’He contacted the police, who started their investigation on why a body of a smartly dressed young woman lay motionless on the side of a deserted gravel road.
’’Investigations revealed that the unemployed Koloi was told that she had a job interview at the George Airport. On this day, she called friends to borrow money for a taxi fare to attend the interview.
’’Her boyfriend and her brother accompanied her to the hiking spot at Thembalethu bridge, George. She boarded a silver-grey sedan driven by Monqo with Qhusheka sitting at the back.
’’A few hours later, her lifeless body was found with seven stab wounds and a slit throat. Five stab wounds to the left chest penetrated her heart and her lung. The gaping wound to her neck had three edges across her neck.
’’The investigation also revealed that other similar cases were committed in and around the jurisdictions of Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Bisho, Mthatha and Western Cape.’’
Ntabazalila added: ’’Advocate Kortje says the State will ask for maximum sentences when sentencing proceedings resume on 15 November, 2021 at the circuit court in George. That includes asking the court to impose a life sentence for the murder of Koloi and 15 years’ imprisonment for each of the 13 fraud cases.’’-Africaupdates
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