The US$100 000 and R250 000 in cash recovered on late Plumtree businessman Ondrej Gombar’s deathbed was recorded in an inventory filed with the Master of High Court, but has reportedly disappeared under unclear circumstances, with interested parties accusing each other of theft.
Gombar, a businessman of South African origin in the borehole drilling sector, died on February 8 last year at his Plumtree home after battling cancer for years.
When he died, it was not in dispute that he had US$100 000 and R250 000 on his bed and that the money was declared when the estate was registered by the late businessman’s lawyer, Mr Bhekithemba Mlauzi.
Gombar had no relatives in Zimbabwe and he was buried by his workers, friends and some community members.
Mr Mlauzi stated in the inventory that the late businessman owned Drill Deep (Pvt) Limited, a house along Dombodema Road in Plumtree, a house in Marlborough West in Harare and a plot in Plumtree along with several vehicles, drilling machinery and equipment.
The inventory also shows Gombar had US$100 000 and R250 000 in cash at the time of death.
However, the money went missing and the executor has launched investigations to establish the truth. Drill Deep and the law firm are accusing each other of taking over the cash.
Drill Deep Pvt Ltd has written to Kossam Ncube & Partners, the law firm to which Mr Mlauzi is attached, accusing it of benefiting from the cash.
The community, wrote the company last year, suspects that people who first entered the house had taken the money and “your Mr Mlauzi with help of Roman Catholic Community chairperson” had removed the money and registered it as part of Gombar’s estate.
In another letter to the police, the lawyers counter-accused Drill Deep employees and the leadership of stripping the estate of money and assets before finalisation of the estate.
“After burial and in defiance of the law, he (director) took all records, documents, property and monies left by the deceased into his custody without due process. This is in violation of the Administration of Estates Act and is a criminal offence,” reads the letter.
The lawyers, on behalf of Mr Mlauzi, have since written to the police indicating that they suspected their client died of poisoning and they requested an exhumation of the body to enable pathologists to examine the corpse.
“We call upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s CID Homicide to act with speed and cause the exhumation of the deceased and subsequent examination of his body. This obviously calls upon the confiscation of all assets and stopping of all activities,” reads the letter to the police.
Law Society of Zimbabwe corporate communications manager Mr Richard Chidza said they were investigating the allegations against Mlauzi although there was no formal complaint raised against him.
“The Law Society of Zimbabwe has instituted investigations into the allegations against Mr Mlauzi although we have not received an official complaint yet. We are trying to piece together the facts of the matter after reading the allegations from some media reports,” said Mr Chidza.