The case in which Doves Funeral Services has been accused of giving a grieving Nyanga family an empty coffin has taken a new twist after the end of life industry company accused the family’s lawyers of attempted extortion.
According to Doves, one of the lawyers, Fungai Chimwamurombe, a senior partner at Chimwamurombe Legal Practice, gave the company an ultimatum to give him US$123 000 and an SUV within 12 hours or else he would tarnish their image by publicising the case of the empty coffin.
The family of the late Maxwell Chimwamurombe claimed that Doves gave them an empty coffin when they wanted to bury their relative.
Maxwell, who is understood to have drowned, was buried without a body viewing ceremony being conducted because of strict COVID-19 protocols that were in place at the time.
The lightness of the coffin was explained as being the result of it containing merely a few body parts that were supposedly recovered.
When Doves Funeral Services became aware of the mistake six months later, it disposed of the body without the knowledge of the dead man’s family.
The family of the late Chimwamurombe has demanded that the funeral parlour accepts that it made an error and take corrective action, else they will take legal action.
Now Doves has accused the lawyer, Chimwamurombe, of trying to extort them. Below is the letter from Doves Holdings’ lawyers, Mutangamira and Associates, over the matter:
RE: DOVES FUNERAL SERVICES (PVT) LTD
1. We refer to your letter dated the 26th of October 2021 and advise that we act on behalf of Doves Funeral Services Private Limited (“Doves”). Please note our legal interest.
2. As you are aware our Client advised the policyholder, the immediate family and the traditional leadership of an enquiry relating to the burial of the deceased. The engagement between our Client and the mentioned parties was cordial and mutually respectful. In accordance with cultural, legal and ethical considerations, the nature of the discussions between the parties remains confidential.
3. We however note that in the past forty-eight (48) hours your partner, Mr Fungai Chimwamurombe, invoked a parallel process in which he made incessant personal demands divorced from the ongoing engagement.
4. In particular, it is on record that your partner demanded to be immediately bought a brand new SUV motor vehicle and be personally paid USD$ 123 000.00 (One hundred and twenty-three thousand United States Dollars) within a period of less than twelve (12) hours. It is on record that your partner threatened to publicly scandalise our Client unless his personal demands were met.
5. All efforts by the immediate family members of the deceased and our client to deal with the matter in terms of the law were strongly rebuffed by your partner.
6. Regrettably, after realising that our Client was committed to a process already agreed, your partner proceeded to widely circulate a letter supposedly addressed to our Client.
7. It is important to mention that the contents of your letter are neither factually correct nor do they disclose the failed forcible attempts made by your partner to be personally paid.
8. Our Client remains committed to the agreed process and considers the illicit efforts by your partner to be unwarranted in the circumstances.
9. We trust that your partner will give due consideration of his personal demands on the matter in light of the clearly communicated position by the immediate family. In the public interest at the relevant time, our Client and the immediate family will make the necessary communications in order to set the record straight.
10. The sensitivity of the mutual discussions and our Client’s ethical commitments bind us to advise you accordingly.