Police on Wednesday exhumed two bodies buried in one grave at a cemetery in Harare, hoping to solve the mystery of a coffin allegedly buried empty in Nyanga after a dead man’s body was inexplicably left behind at a parlour in Harare.
Doves Funeral Services is accused of burying Maxwell Chimwamurombe in the same coffin as a pauper in Harare, after realising its mistake.
Police detectives watched as Doves funeral undertakers carefully dug up a coffin at Granville Mbudzi Cemetery, which they opened to reveal two bodies.
One of those bodies is believed to be that of Chimwamurombe, who died in March in a drowning incident.
The coffin was loaded onto the back of a police Ford Ranger and driven to the Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary, where DNA samples are expected to be collected in the hope of identifying the individual buried alongside the pauper.
A Doves spokesman declined to comment, referring to a statement issued in October, in which the company said it is “committed to a full investigation of the matter to bring it to completion.”
Sources say a driver who was supposed to be ferrying Chimwamurombe’s body became aware that the coffin was empty during burial at a village in Nyanga.
The driver reportedly informed one of the senior managers at Doves after the burial, but the manager did not take any action.
Instead, Doves is believed to have taken Chimwamurombe’s remains and placed them in the same coffin as a dead man whose body was given to Doves by the department of social welfare to conduct a pauper’s burial
.Chimwamurombe’s family has demanded compensation from Doves. The company has asked the family to “walk with us as we follow the due process… which will ultimately lead to an amicable settlement of the matter.”
Police are expected to conduct a second exhumation in Nyanga, to confirm that a coffin was buried without a body.
Doves employees are likely to face criminal charges over the matter.