THE trial of two suspected drug pushers who allegedly tried to steal a corpse stashed with over a kilogramme of heroin worth US$112 000 opened yesterday at the Harare Magistrate Court with the pair denying the charges. Tanzanian national Mlawa Jumanne Ndumbogane (33) and Mufungo Ngara (39) pleaded not guilty to dealing in dangerous drugs when they appeared before regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya.
Ndumbogane said he was a relative of the late drug mule and he was sent by family members to repatriate the body to South Africa. He said that he was not aware there were drugs inside the corpse.
Ngara, who also denied knowledge of the drugs, said he was only hired to transport the corpse to South Africa. Investigating officer Detective Mupandawana Mugove said when he met the two, Ndumbogane said he was a relative of the deceased while Ngara said he was a driver.
Prosecutor Mr Liberty Gono said that on October 19, the suspected drug mule Tanzanian Ally Omari Mpili arrived at Roadport bus terminus in Harare from Tanzania, but failed to proceed to South Africa, his intended destination on the same day.
Mpili sought accommodation and slept in Braeside where he died the same night. The following day, the court heard, detectives got information that Mpili had swallowed drugs prior to his departure from Tanzania. Mr Gono alleged that the drugs, which burst in his stomach, could have caused Mpili's death.
Officers from Braeside Police Station took Mpili's body to a city funeral parlour for safekeeping, while awaiting post-mortem to determine the cause of death. On October 24, Ndumbogane and Ngara proceeded to the funeral parlour where they claimed Mpili's body.
The pair was arrested before taking the body after police were tipped off that the two were claiming a body left by the police.