Duo denies corpse-drugs link

HARARE - Two suspected drug dealers who attempted to steal the corpse of a Tanzanian national from a funeral parlour say they were unaware the body was stuffed with illicit drugs.

South African national Mlawa Jumanne Ndumbogane, 33, and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Mufungo Ngara, 39, are accused of attempting to steal a corpse stuffed with 1,4 kilogrammes of heroin.

They are accused of contravening Section 189 as read with 156 (i) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, for allegedly attempting to deal in dangerous drugs.

It is alleged the two attempted to steal the corpse of  the late Ally Omari Mpili from Vineyard Funeral Parlour who died in Harare’s Braeside suburb on October 19, this year.

The duo, represented by Rungano Mahuni, denied the allegations when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya for trial yesterday.

They told the court their actions were above board.

Ndumbogane told the court he was related to Mpili and was making formalities to repatriate the body.
Ngara said he was only contracted to transport the body.

However, prosecutor Liberty Gono alleges Mpili, who arrived at Harare’s Roadport Bus Terminus on October 19, had failed to get a connecting bus to South Africa.

According to state papers, he decided to spend the night in Braeside.

Mpili died the same night, the court was told.

It is alleged on the following day, police detectives received information that Mpili had swallowed some drugs while he was in Tanzania.

Police suspected Mpili’s death was a result of the drugs he had swallowed.

His body was later taken to Vineyard Funeral Parlour by Braeside-based police officers for safe keeping, while they waited for results of a post mortem.

Ndumbogane and Ngara allegedly went to the parlour on October 24 and attempted to collect the body without the knowledge of the police, leading to their arrest.

According to state papers, a full post mortem conducted on October 25 at Parirenyatwa Hospital revealed Mpili had 80 cream-looking ampoules in his intestines.

The ampoules tested positive for heroin. - Tendai Kamhungira

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