The widow of the late Mombasa businessman Abbas Anverali Nazerali has opposed plans to exhume his body, citing her faith and customs and arguing the practice is frowned upon.
Mr Nazerali was pronounced dead on arrival at Mombasa Hospital on May 15. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) wants to investigate the death and wants the body exhumed for a postmortem as foul play is suspected.
But the businessman’s widow, Kiran Nazerali, said in court documents that the cause of her husband’s death is well known and exhuming his body would serve no purpose.
In an affidavit, the widow argued that a request to exhume a deceased person’s body is a radical and extreme step that should only be allowed if close members of the family allow it.
She said her religion and customary beliefs frown upon exhumation. “It is our wish that my late husband’s body remains undisturbed, and he retains his dignity even in death,” she said.
She said her husband died of kidney failure after suffering from an infection.
She urged the court to reject the request to exhume his body, arguing that the orders should not be sought where the cause of a person’s death is uncontroverted.
“Given that the actual cause of death is known, what is the exhumation for? The death of my husband is neither surprising nor suspicious,” she said.
After Mr Nazerali died, his brother Shakir Anwar questioned the circumstances of his death. He reported the matter to the police, prompting the DCI to ask the court for orders to exhume his body for a postmortem to determine the cause of his death.
Mr Anwar argues that the circumstances of his brother’s death are not clear considering the chain of events leading to his hospitalisation and burial.
Mr Anwar said the businessman’s siblings were not informed about the death or burial plans and only came to learn from a family friend that he had been buried.
Mr Pharis Thoya, an officer who has sworn an affidavit detailing the reason for seeking to exhume the body, told the court that the immediate family found the burial suspicious.
“It is important for the exhumation process to be carried out to allow for an autopsy on the deceased body in order to establish the cause of death,” Mr Thoya said.
Mr Thoya argued that the widow and a Mr Hussein Chandu, who were with Mr Nazerali in his last days, disregarded police directives and proceeded with the burial plans, raising suspicion.
But the widow has linked her woes to questions about shares in the family’s company, saying this was the cause of her differences with Mr Anwar.
She also says in court documents that Mr Anwar was not on good terms with her husband regarding the running of the company, and that
Mr Nazerali had demanded his share transferred to him.
“Their relationship was hostile at best. This was caused by my late husband demanding to have his share in the inherited family company transferred to him. However, Mr Anwar was not willing to do this,” she says in court documents.
She added that for more than six years, Mr Anwar held on to his brother’s share until 2020, when Mr Nazerali retained the Kenyan part of the business while his brother took the Pakistani bit.
“The complainant blamed me for this and has vilified me for the same,” she said, adding that Mr Anwar has influenced incorrect medical reports to be produced about the death.
The widow has clarified that she tried to have Mr Nazerali treated but he refused to follow the doctor’s advice and demanded to be discharged despite his condition.
“The complainant herein threatened my children by stating that we shall know no peace and told us he will leave us destitute and begging on the roadside in six months. All these threats were made at my late husband’s gravesite,” she said.
Court documents show that the widow has recorded a statement at the DCI headquarters in Mombasa over the circumstances of her husband’s death.
The matter continues.