40 000 People Buried On An Illegal Cemetery In Harare Face Exhumation
An estimated 20 000 to 40 000 people are buried on a hidden and illegal cemetery in the catchment area of the Mazowe Dam and right next to the Mazowe River according to claims by a deported Croatian businessman who owns 49% shareholding in the company that owns Chikomo Chemhute Cemetery (part of Glen Forest Memorial Park).
Joseph Richard Crnkovic claims he was deported from Zimbabwe in 2015 and declared a prohibited immigrant for disclosing that there is no approval from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to bury people on the farm and the cemetery was an illegal enterprise.
Crnkovic has since written a letter seeking consular protection and diplomatic intervention from the European Union delegation to Zimbabwe, British ambassador Melanie Robinson and the Croatian consulate in Pretoria, South Africa.
His company Fopuld Investments (Pvt) Ltd Zimbabwe has a 49% shareholding in Cadrina Investments (Pvt) Ltd, which also owns Chikomo Chemhute.
In the letter Crnkovic claims the farm is not compliant with section 35 of Zimbabwe Cemeteries Act, and “Furthermore, it is in the catchment area of the Mazowe Dam with no Environmental Management Agency (Ema) approval to establish a cemetery in this area.”
Crnkovic explains that he is seeking protection because he is being charged with bogus allegations and had been slapped with summons to appear in court on November 18, 2021.
“However, I have not been availed the State’s evidence. I am told that a warrant for my arrest has already been issued so I cannot go to Harare to prepare.
“I seek your urgent consular protection and intervention in this matter as I have been arrested and detained once already and now cannot return to the country of my first nationality without being arrested again,” Crnkovic wrote.
“There is a farm called Chikomo Chemuto (Pvt) Limited which currently has a government certificate of no present interest. This farm was fraudulently hidden from the books of Candrina Investments (Pvt) Limited, trading as Glen Forests Memorial Park. And no disclosures were made regarding its existence at the board I sat on,” he further claimed.
“There are sensitive issues at play here because you have an estimated 20 000 to 40 000 people buried on a hidden and illegal cemetery, which is a farm, and there is no Ema approval to bury people on this farm because it is in the catchment area of the Mazowe Dam and right next to Mazowe River.”
A spokesman for Glen Forest Memorial Park, Marowa Meleki is quoted saying “Glen Forest is an independent company that operates a cemetery and a crematorium. Glen Forest operates legally and has approval from Goromonzi Rural District Council and all appropriate line ministries.
“Glen Forest has Ema approval to operate a cemetery and a crematorium. It buries everybody in lined graves, and this was a condition given by Ema in its approval,” Meleki said.