Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
Police and relevant stakeholders today exhumed two bodies which were buried in one grave in Harare as they seek to get to the bottom of a case in which an empty coffin was in March presented to a bereaved family before the body of Mr Maxwell Chimwamurombe was eventually buried in a pauper’s grave at Granville (Mbudzi) Cemetery in Harare a few months later.
This comes after revelations that Doves Funeral Services gave Chinwamurombe’s family an empty coffin for burial in March only for them to bury his body in the same coffin with a pauper a few months later.
Detectives from CID Homicide, a pathologist, Harare City Council officials, an environmental health technician, a social welfare officer and a family representative witnessed the exhumation.
The bodies were taken to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals mortuary where DNA tests will be conducted.
Sources close to the investigations said after the DNA results are out, they are expected to conduct a second exhumation in Nyanga to establish whether or not it was true that an empty coffin had been buried.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the developments.
“Yes, we can confirm that two bodies have been exhumed and police are conducting investigations.
“The remains have been taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary,” he said.
Last month, Doves Funeral Services suspended three of its employees over the matter.
Reports say that relatives and friends of the late Chimwamurombe gathered in Avilla area, Nyanga in March for his burial where Doves brought an empty coffin.
Without conducting body viewing due to the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions, the family went on to bury the empty coffin.
Some six months later, the family learnt from sources that Doves had realised the anomaly three days after the burial of an empty coffin, but decided to offer the deceased a pauper’s burial at Granville Cemetery without notifying the family.
In a bid to rectify the anomaly, Doves engaged traditional leaders in Nyanga who fined them a beast and later allowed them to conduct a fresh burial in their area of jurisdiction.
Chief Saunyama, born Mr Victor Saunyama, confirmed engaging Doves Funeral Services.
“Doves Funeral Services has since been fined a beast for their error in terms of our customs. For now, we are conducting the processes that lead to the reburial of the deceased after Doves approached the family, all the local traditional leaders, police and the district development coordinator,” he said.