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'Shoddy' Service Lands Funeral Assurer In Murky Waters


BY JAMES MUONWA

ONE of Zimbabwe's top funeral assurance companies, Doves Funeral Services (DFS) is in the eye of a storm after it allegedly handed a Nyanga family an empty coffin, kept the corpse for six months before they “secretly” buried the deceased in a pauper’s funeral.

The Chimwamurombe family is aggrieved after the late Maxwell Chimwamurombe was allegedly secretly interred at Granville Cemetery, commonly known as KuMbudzi, by the funeral parlour six months later.

The whole time the family was at peace thinking they had given their dearly departed a befitting send-off not even assuming the coffin they buried was empty.

In a letter by Chimwamurombe’s lawyers seen by NewsAnchor, the firm knew it had wronged by presenting the bereaved family with an empty coffin but chose to be mum.

Wrote the lawyers, “Your organisation presented our clients with a coffin without a corpse for burial.

“Your organisation realised three days after the burial that the body was still in the mortuary. Your organisation kept quiet about the body it had from March 2021 to August 2021 (approximately 6 months). Your organisation in a completely bizarre and potentially callous and criminal manner proceeded to conceal evidence by burying our client’s relative without their knowledge and consent with a pauper at Granville cemetery,” the letter reads

“In a more shocking and completely unheard-of move, the burial was a mass grave type of burial. We are advised that our client’s relative was either buried in the same coffin with the pauper or buried in the same grave. All circumstances the burial being utterly disrespectful and demeaning the Chinwamurombe family,” it reads.

“One cannot rule out ritualism.”

According to the lawyers, DFS sent a “high-powered delegation” which included two directors, the Human Resources Executive, the Group Public Relations manager and the Chaplin to meet the family and the lawyers.

It is alleged that they approached the law firm creating a perception of acknowledging their organisations negligent, injurious and criminal conduct.

The family had travelled from Avilla and Kanyimo, Nyanga with the conciliation expectation of a repentant and sympathetic organisation but Doves disappointed them.

“We cannot say that was achieved. Your delegation blew out hot and cold when asked by our Mr Gombiro whether they accepted the facts amounting to your criminal, negligent and injurious conduct.”

The family said it is contemplating suing Doves for bringing emotional pain and suffering.

It also said this means the funeral has been reopened and are seeking immediate action over the scandal.

In response to the damning allegations, Doves Public Relations manager Innocent Tshuma on Wednesday said: "As Doves, we greatly empathise with the Chimwamurombe family during this difficult time. A meeting was held with the family led by Mr Fungai Chimwamurombe on 25 October 2021.

"The meeting sought to find a way to initiate the exhumation process at both burial sites involving the deceased families." 

Tshuma reiterated DFS's commitment to a full investigation to bring closure to the embarrassing drama.

He added: "We are cognisant of the emotional stress the family is going through and as management we are keen on going to the bottom of the matter which will ultimately lead to an amicable settlement of the matter."

­The bizarre case has been reported to the police, Chiefs' Council, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZAAC) and Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC).


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