Kwekwe accident funds ‘stolen’

THE body of a Pfochez bus accident victim is still lying uncollected at the Kwekwe General Hospital morgue, three weeks after a suspected con artiste vanished with cash provided by government as funeral assistance, after he masqueraded as the victim’s uncle.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

The accident, which claimed 31 lives along the Kwekwe-Gweru Road on March 3, involved a Harare-bound Pfochez bus, which side-swiped a kombi travelling in the opposite direction.

Government declared the accident a national disaster and provided $429 to assist in the burial of each of the victims.

Investigations by Southern Eye this week point to a possible scam, where government officials could have been swindled of $429 by an unidentified man, who masqueraded as a close relative of one of the deceased and fled with the money.

According to sources, the deceased was decapitated during the accident and one of his legs severed off.

“The body is not easily identifiable because the head was decapitated and the face mutilated during the accident, so the real identity of the man is yet to be ascertained,” a source close to the investigations said.

Details obtained by NewsDay so far show that on March 8, a man, who identified himself as Norbert Majoni, approached a police officer identified only as Constable Romilio and claimed the body was that of his nephew.

Romilio then assisted Majoni to fill in a police 231 form to facilitate the death registration of the deceased.

Majoni then registered the name of the deceased on the form as Isaac Godfrey Paradza, ID number 63-042091 N63.

Sources claimed Majoni was not asked to produce his identification particulars or any proof he was related to the deceased.

Majoni then allegedly presented the document to officials at Kwekwe Registrar-General’s office, where he was issued with a burial order registration 16/17 on the strength of the 231 form.

Armed with the burial order, Majoni, now using Shepard Paradza’s expired passport, then approached the Kwekwe District Administrator’s offices and claimed $429 for funeral assistance on March 9.

After collecting the money, he vanished, leaving the body uncollected. Investigations, with the help of officers from the RG’s office later showed that the ID number and the name he gave to police did not exist.

Romilio has since been transferred from Kwekwe General hospital police base and is now based at Kwekwe Central Police Station to expedite investigations into the matter.

Kwekwe District Administrator Tenpercent Mutikizizi, who also chairs the city’s Civil Protection Unit, which was responsible for the disbursement of the funds, confirmed the incident.

He told Southern Eye he could not give further details, as the matter had not yet been presented to the provincial Joint Operations Command.

Contacted for comment, national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said: “I am not yet aware of that matter, I will check with people from Midlands”.

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