HARARE – Police have lift the lid on the circumstances surrounding the death of Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), chief executive officer Douglas Munatsi, saying an explosion was heard before an inferno gutted the prominent banker’s Harare flat while he was still inside.
The 59-year-old died early Monday morning after he failed to escape from his seven roomed flat comprising of three bedrooms, dining room, lounge, kitchen and Gym.
Police forensic team is currently working with the Fire brigade to ascertain cause of explosion.
Police say they are also on the hunt for a guest who was recorded as the last person to visit the now deceased, a few hours before the fire.
She was recorded at the entrance as Colleta NFPK. It is not clear why she did not provide her full name.
The prominent banker is said to have cried for help when a fire broke out in his flat around 2:50AM on Monday.
“On 29 November 2021 at around 0250hours, the informant (Charles Gardner) heard some explosion-like noise and he woke up and went to the balcony to check where the noise was coming from, reads a police memo.
“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 fire brigade at the same time running down stairs to the ground floor. A report was made at ZRP Harare Central.”
Police observed that Munatsi’s 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 remains of the deceased was found in a sitting position just beside the tub in the main bedroom with some burns on the hands and legs, 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,” police said.
Gardner is said to have told the police that he heard sound as if something had exploded at about 02:50AM 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 mentioned that he phoned Fire Brigade at about 2:53AM 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 since about 1445 hours on Saturday 27 November 2021. He further narrated that 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 Fire brigade only finished extinguishing the fire at about 0530 hours,” police said.
“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 check point 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.”
Below is the policy memo of the initial investigation into the death of businessman Douglas Munatsi.