Panorama went to great lengths and used every opportunity it could to discredit Tongo, the fare-touting driver of an unlicenced taxi, whom murder suspect Shrien Dewani hired on his arrival at the airport; whom Dewani had previously described as “helpful” and “trustworthy”, hugged, and referred to as “a nice guy”.
Tongo made a full confession to police of his involvement in Anni’s murder, receiving an eighteen year long jail term after a seven year reduction for co-operation in a plea bargain. He told the court that Shrien Dewani instructed him to help organise Anni’s murder and key aspects of his testimony are supported by CCTV footage, phone records and money transaction records.
At 34:38 of Panorama Jeremy Vine asserts:
“So in just eight seconds, Shrien Dewani is supposed to have threatened Tongo, and demanded Anni’s murder that night”
Vine claims that Tongo is not telling the truth about events at the Surfside Restaurant. He says that “if the timer on the CCTV is correct”, Tongo called Mbolombo “8 seconds after disappearing from view”. That would be a few seconds before 9:35 pm.
But only a moment before this in the Panorama programme at 33min 4sec, they show Mbolombo receiving a call, allegedly from Tongo, with an onscreen clock giving the time as “21:31” – 9:31 pm.
So Panorama’s own statements on this issue are far from convincing. Were there in fact two phone calls from Tongo to Mbolombo, the first one at 9:31 and then another one a few moments later? If so, why does Panorama fail to mention the 9:31 call when discussing the CCTV from Surfside?
Or was there only one phonecall, in which case the times alleged by Panorama would be highly suspect?
Additionally, there are other anomalies in the Surfside footage broadcast by Panorama.
- At 34:22-frame17, Tongo first appears in the CCTV footage, with Anni following not far behind. The timer of the CCTV shows “21:33:10”.
- At 34:24-frame-7 Tongo has approached nearer the camera, and the timer shows “21:33:14”.
- But at the very next frame, 34:24-frame-8, the CCTV timer is showing 21:33:35; it has jumped a full 21 seconds forward.
Tongo, with Anni behind him is suddenly walking on the other side of the corridor. There is thus a 21 second gap in the CCTV record in which there could easily have been an interaction between Shrien and Tongo.
- At 34:27-frame-13 Shrien is seen for the first time emerging from behind a pillar at the left of the screen. The CCTV time shows “21:33:38”.
If that is not enough, there are yet more reasons why Tongo’s testimony should not be dismissed as lightly as Jeremy Vine and Professor Jim Fraser suggest in the programme.
According to Tongo’s statement, Shrien spoke to him after Anni had gone in first. But it is not clear whether Tongo is referring to the restaurant proper, or to the external entrance to the building, which also bears a “Surfside Restaurant” sign.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
After further analysis of the facts, we have realised that the version of events presented by Panorama cannot possibly be true. Read our updated analysis at “THE SURFSIDE CCTV – A NEW TAKE“