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Douglas Munetsi death: Police search for woman who last saw him alive

Police investigating circumstances surrounding the death of Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) chief executive officer Douglas Munatsi have so far established that he was not burnt by flames but by the heat because his clothes were still intact.

The police have also launched a manhunt for a woman who was recorded on the security checkpoint book as Coleta NFPK, believed to have arrived at about 1905 hours on Sunday and the guard escorted her to the now deceased’s flat.

The former BancABC CEO was killed at around 4AM on Monday in his 9th floor Northfields flat at the corner of Fifth Street and Josiah Tongogara.

According to a police memo, an explosion was heard before an inferno gutted the prominent banker’s Harare flat while he was still inside and further revealed that he was not burnt the whole body by the fire that gutted his bedroom. His red T-shirt and black short were intact.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday said circumstances around Munatsi’s death were not “clear” and he awaited completion of the police investigation.

Nehanda Radio further gathered from sources that Munatsi was yet to present a report on the list of money laundering, minerals and commodity cartels in the country. He had an appointment with Mnangagwa at 7.20 am on Monday.

The Investigation Department revealed some critical details that may shed new light into events leading to the fire and Munatsi’s mysterious death, possibly after he was immobilised, drugged and had his bedroom set on fire that destroyed everything in there.

“The informant (Charles Gardner, 32, Chairman of the Northfields Owners Association) occupies the same flat as deceased, residing at the apartment on the 10th floor, while the deceased (Doug Munatsi, 59, occupied the apartment on the 9th floor,” police said in a memo seen by Nehanda Radio.

Douglas Munatsi was killed at around 4AM on Monday in his 9th floor Northfields flat at the corner of Fifth Street and Josiah Tongogara. (Picture by Nyashadzashe Ndoro)
Douglas Munatsi was killed at around 4AM on Monday in his 9th floor Northfields flat at the corner of Fifth Street and Josiah Tongogara. (Picture by Nyashadzashe Ndoro)

On 29 November 2021 at around 0250hours, the informant heard some explosion-like noise and he woke up and went to the balcony to check where the noise was coming from.

“The informant saw smoke coming from the now deceased’s flat which is directly below his flat and a voice that was shouting ‘Fire please help‘. Informant then phoned the fire brigade at the same time running down stairs to the ground floor. A report was made at ZRP Harare Central.”

The memo further read that the scene was attended by CID Homicide, CID Studios, CID Scenes of Crime, CID Forensic and ZRP Harare Central who made the following observations:

“Scene is a ninth floor 7 roomed flat comprising three bedrooms, dining room, lounge, kitchen and gym situated at corner Josiah Tongogara and Fifth Street, Harare.

“The main bedroom was extensively damaged by fire to the extent that all windows and doors were broken, all the furniture in the bedroom were extensively burnt that only steel frames for the bed and built in cupboards were observed.”

The Criminal Investigations Department said the remains of the deceased were found in a sitting position just beside the tub in the main bedroom with some burns on the hands and legs, adding that “he was putting on a red T-shirt and a black pair of shorts which were not burnt to suggest that the deceased could have been burnt by the heat of the fire and not direct flames.”

The informant interviewed by the police said that he heard a sound as if something had exploded at about 0250 hours and woke up to check and discovered that there was smoke coming from the now deceased’s flat. He also mentioned that he heard the now deceased calling for help.

“Same ( informant) mentioned he phoned the Fire Brigade at about 0253 hours at the same time telling the now deceased to come out. The informant stated that he then ran down stairs on foot since there was no electricity on the flat for about 1445 hours on Saturday 27 November 2021.

“He further narrated that the Fire Brigade arrived at the scene at about 0311 hours but had some challenges in accessing the flat since it was on the 9th floor. The informant mentioned that the Fire brigade only finished extinguishing the fire at about 0530 hours.

“Also interviewed was Shupai Zifunge aged 47 years NR 04-070519 B 04 of Block 7, C10 Shawasha Flats, Mbare, Harare who is employed by Securico Security Company as a security guard based at Northfields Flats.

“Same indicated that he last saw the now deceased on 28 November 2021 at about 1820 hours when he (deceased) told him that he was expecting a guest at the flat and he asked the informant to escort the guest to his flat when she arrived.

“The guard further mentioned that the said guest who was recorded on the security checkpoint book as Coleta NFPK arrived at about 1905 and he escorted her to the now deceased’s flat. The said guest left the flat at about 2118 hours on foot.

“Shupai Zifunge further stated that on 29 November 2021 around 0300 hours he heard some explosion and he went out of the guardroom and saw the informant running downstairs telling him that there was a fire in flat number C9.”

Meanwhile, police investigations are underway to “interview the said guest who was recorded as the last person to visit the now deceased at the place of occurrence, one only recorded as Colleta NFPK.” Nehanda Radio

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