A dual Croatian and Zimbabwean citizen, Joseph Richard Crnkovic, who is involved in a bitter fight for control of the Glen Forest Memorial Park on Thursday sought shelter at the European Union Commission offices fearing “assassination”.
EU ambassador, Timo Olkonnen, confirmed to NewsDay Zimbabwe that Crnkovic was at the embassy at the guard’s parking lot. Olkonnen said in response to questions from NewsDay Weekender:
I can confirm that he has been and currently is at the delegation parking lot. Otherwise, I have no comments to be made.
Crnkovic, a director of Fopuld Investments with 49% shareholding in Cadrina, has been locked in a fight for control of the Glen Forest Memorial Park.
The matter is yet to be heard at the High Court.
Crnkovic said he was warned by hotel security of his imminent arrest for unclear reasons and had to run for his life. Crnkovic wrote to the embassy from the parking lot:
I request protection and an urgent transfer to the French embassy or other suitable embassy where I may have food and water. Today (Thursday) I was chased by close to 40 unmarked cars which seem to be of State security agents.
Fearing for my life, I rushed to the EU Council. The vehicles followed in fast pursuit. I barely made it to the commission in time. I believe if I had been a few minutes later, I would be dead. The reason for this is I am the representative of the company taking Glen Forest Memorial Park to court to stop its operations.
I have legally attacked the government to get my civil rights back and I have started civil litigation which is not in the interest of the General or President. Both these actors, the prime decision makers, have been rumoured to be associated with killing people.
As a result of the above, I believe my life is in danger. Historically, my rights have been trampled on, I have been unfairly treated in the courts of Zimbabwe and prevailed.
He argues that the deed to the land in dispute specifically states that the land must be used for residential and agricultural purposes only, and not as a burial site. If he wins the case in court, over 40 000 graves risk being dug up.
Other shareholders tried to buy him out by offering him shares in a subsidiary of Glen Forest known as Chikomo Chemhute, a cemetery where over 40 000 people are buried.
Crnkovic refused to sell his shares in Candrina arguing that Chikomo Chemhute is an illegitimate enterprise which exposed the business to legal action from families of people buried there.
In his letter dated November 15, 2021, Crnkovic wrote to the European Union delegation to Zimbabwe, the Croatian consul in Pretoria, South Africa, and British ambassador Melanie Robinson appealing for consular protection and diplomatic intervention claiming that he was facing prosecution for disclosing that Chikomo Chemhute Cemetery, which is part of Glen Forest Memorial Park, was an illegal enterprise.