Mujuru Fire Evidence Tampered With – Forensic Expert
HARARE –A South African Police forensic scientist who examined the debris of the burnt late retired Army Chief Solomon Mujuru told the court that they failed to detect the cause of the fire which gutted the General’s house because the way the debris was collected and transported to South Africa was not properly done.
South Africa Police services Pretoria’s Warrant officer forensic analyst and reporting officer Seonyatseng,Jack Maine, is one of the three South African Forensic experts who testified on Thursday at the on-going inquest into the death of retired Army Commander Solomon Mujuru at the Harare Magistrates’ courts. He told the court they failed to establish the cause of the fire because the local police used ordinary plastics and boxes to store the collected debris they used for testing.
“We could not detect the cause of the fire because the way the debris were gathered, collected and transported to South Africa was not properly done. The debris was supposed to have been placed in an oven bag, a special packaging when it was collected,” said Maine.
Ashes of burnt tiles, clothes and curtains made part of the debris which Zimbabwe Republic police Director of the Forensic Science laboratory Bethwell Mutandiro with the assistance of other police officers collected for examination from the Mujuru’s burnt house.
According to Mutandiro they collected debris from areas where they thought fire was concentrated on, a development which another South African forensic scientist, Klogtlakogmang Ariel Lenong, said was wrong.
“This does not mean the ignitable liquid was not present at the scene of the fire. The exposure of the liquid to intense heat can also affect the results and I would not have been able to detect the ignitable liquid if the evidence was collected from the area,” South African Police Services Pretoria Chief Forensic analyst Klogtlakogmang Ariel Lenong said while giving evidence.
An independent South African Pathologist Dr Reggie Perumel which the Mujuru last week requested the court to give them the chance to assist attended the inquest and fielded questions to the South African Forensic scientists through the lawyer Thekor Kewada.
Chikwanha on Monday put on hold an application by the family of the late Solomon Mujuru which had requested to invite an independent pathologist.
The high profile inquest continues Friday with forensic pathologist Gabriel Alvero, a Cuban national, expected to testify.