Malawi Police stop family from exhuming body: Suspected stolen casket

Malawi Police over the weekend stopped a Blantyre based wealthy family from exhuming a body of their relative who was buried at HHI Cemetery on Friday, Nyasa Times understands.

The family wanted to exhume the body of Henz Lipipa on suspicion that some evil people had tampered with his burial chamber and stolen the expensive casket he was lying in.

According to a police investigator, during the burial ceremony last Friday some members of the bereaved family became suspicious with the “extreme interest” of an employee from one of the popular coffin workshops in Blantyre.

The family members thought the “stranger” was sent on a spy mission to assess the expensive casket for potential reselling.

Police block family from exhuming body
Police block family from exhuming body

Among other businesses, the late Henz’s family owns Lab Enterprises, one of the major suppliers of laboratory chemicals, consumers, equipment and glassware in the country.

And Nyasa Times has deliberately concealed the name of the popular coffin workshop the family suspects is after their departed relative’s casket.

“After burial, family members inspected the site on Saturday morning and found that everything was fine. But it appears, they still harboured their mistrust so they went back on Sunday morning and observed some funny marks on the grave,” a source told Nyasa Times.

The source said the relatives then rushed to police and reported the matter while also demanding exhumation of their departed kin’s body to check on the state.

He explained on Sunday afternoon, a team from the police and Blantyre City Council (BCC) accompanied by the relatives was dispatched for an independent assessment and possible exhumation of the body.

Over 20 people altogether drove to the cemetery using three one tonner pick-ups- a city patrol car, a van and an open pick up- all from the BCC.

“Our investigations on the scene did not indicate that the place was tampered with. Basing on our experience in such matters, the movement of the wreaths and the cross on the tomb might have been as a result of a dog or another animal playing on the tomb.

“But this did not go down well with the family members who insisted that the site had been ruined and wanted the body to be exhumed and checked on,” explained the source, who is privy to the case.

He said after trying to reason with the family members for over an hour with no avail, the police investigators told the bereaved family to go ahead pressing for the exhumation at the BCC without their involvement.

However, the police advised family members that before exhuming the body they should be recorded an official statement as complainants together with their suspect (as defendant) and that the two parties be present during the exhuming exercise.

The condition appeared to have alarmed them in that as at the time of posting online, Nyasa Times understood that the concerned family had not gone back to either police or BCC to pursue the issue.

However, our source said his office has uncovered fresh information indicating that the family wants to take an issue with the Director of Health at BCC to complain about the conductor of the grave diggers for not ignoring to put concrete on the grave’s base.

“They want to force him [director of health}] to ensure that the grave is dug by all means and they see inside if indeed the casket is intact,” he said.

The family is reportedly claiming that despite providing everything, the grave diggers did not apply concrete, because they connived with the suspect to remove the casket.

But it was not immediately established whether the concrete was indeed not made.

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