BY RUMBIDZAI NGWENYA
PROMINENT businessman Douglas Munatsi’s family claims that the late business executive could have been murdered after he lost his life in a mysterious fire at his Harare apartment last Monday.
Munatsi’s remains will be interred at Greendale Cemetery today in the capital after the government granted the late Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) a State- assisted funeral.
Speaking during a memorial service held yesterday at Celebration Church in the capital, Munatsi’s uncle, Levious Mugabe said the family is suspecting foul play.
“Mupfungwa dzangu chaidzo (In my mind), I never thought Douglas would die like this, to die like a housefly, anyway its God’s will,” Mugabe said.
“There is a preacher who once told me that Satan was powerful and I disputed it but today, I have witnessed that of course, he has the power.
“The death of Dougie is not of God, Satan got into people vakarangana (and they planned) to go and kill Douglas asina chaakatadza (when he has done nothing wrong), you know killing Douglas is the same as killing a sheep…We don’t even know where to start as a family.”
This comes as police have intensified investigations into the circumstances that led to his death.
The police are still keen to interview a woman who has only been identified as ‘Coleta NFPK’ — who is believed to have been one of the last people to have been in contact with Munatsi before his tragic death at Northfields Apartments early on Monday.
During police preliminary investigations, it emerged that an explosion was heard in Munatsi’s penthouse before he alerted his neighbour about the fire in his unit. At the same time, police have also revealed that Munatsi’s body was found in a sitting position in his bathroom with burns which are not readily consistent with direct fire flames.
A police report on the case to date also shows that law enforcement agents have already interviewed a security guard at the Northfields complex, Shupai Zifunge, who has revealed that Munatsi entertained a female visitor, ‘Coleta NPFK’, a few hours before his death.
Coleta is believed to have possibly been the last person to be in physical contact with Munatsi before the fire broke out.
“Same (guard) indicated that he last saw the now deceased on November 28, 2021 at about 6.20pm when he (Munatsi) 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 7.05pm and he escorted her to the now deceased’s flat,” the report said, adding that the guard had further informed police that “the guest left the flat at about 9.18pm on foot.”
A neighbour, Charles Gardner, who stays in apartment C10 — one floor above Munatsi’s penthouse — informed investigating officers that he had heard an explosion-like sound which was followed by the deceased’s desperate calls for help.
Munatsi founded Heritage Investment Bank, one of the country’s first black-owned banks, before going on to set up the African Banking Corporation, now BancABC, in 2000.
He later established a private equity fund, DBF Capital, which had interests in energy, metals and insurance.
In a surprise move in 2020, Munatsi would leave the private sector to join the government as CEO of Zida — where it was hoped that his standing in the corporate world would help bring credibility to the organisation and attract much-needed investment to the country.
He is survived by his wife and three children. – Daily News