The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Two Men Accussed of Stealing Drug Stashed Corpse Acquitted

The two men, who were accused of trying to steal a corpse stashed with over a kilogramme of heroin worth US$112 000, were yesterday acquitted at the close of the State's case. Mlawa Jumanne Ndumbogane (33) and Mufungo Ngara (39) were cleared of the charges after the State failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

Their lawyer Mr Rungano Mahuni had applied for discharge at the close of the State's case for lack of evidence. After hearing submissions from both the defence and State, regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya allowed the application saying the police failed to properly investigate the case.

"The police prematurely arrested the accused before completely verifying what was transpiring," said Mr Mujaya.

"The court is now left with a lot of suspicion as to whether a criminal offence had been committed or not."

Mr Mujaya said because of lack of evidence there was no reason to put the duo to their defence.

The State led by Mr Liberty Gono wanted to secure a conviction of the two for allegedly dealing in dangerous drugs. The pair had denied the charges.

Ndumbogane argued that he was related to Mpili and was making formalities to repatriate the body while Ngara argued that he was only contracted to transport the body.

It was alleged 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. 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, while awaiting post-mortem to determine the cause of death.

On October 24, Ndumbogane and Ngara went to the funeral parlour where they claimed Mpili's body. The pair was arrested before taking the body.

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