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Benon Lutaaya's death certificate vanishes

By Evaline Namuwaya

Added 29th April 2019 09:46 AM

Hours after his burial his death certificate disappeared without trace

Benon Lutaaya's death certificate vanishes

Artist Benon Lutaaya passed away a fortnight ago in South Africa. Courtesy Photo

Hours after his burial his death certificate disappeared without trace

Drama ensued in Kiwanyi village, Kaswa town council in Masaka district after the death certificate Benon Lutaaya, the Ugandan artist who passed away in South Africa two weeks ago, vanished hours after he had been laid to rest.

Benon Lutaaya was 34 years old, known for his love for painting and based in South Africa for the last eight years. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour that turned cancerous leading to his death on the April 14th.

Lutaaya's friends had been stranded with his body for the last two weeks after he breathed his last in a Johannesburg hospital. Fellow Ugandans with the help of David Mayers, owner of August House where several artists including late Lutaaya had a studio, mobilised funds and repatriated the body.

However, hours after his burial, his death certificate disappeared without trace.

Milly Kaggwa the guardian to the deceased who received the body on arrival, said after the funeral service personnel handed her the death certificate, she gave it to her husband, who later handed it to a sister to the deceased.

"I had received an envelope that contained the death certificate. However, one of my daughters took it but now she claims it was not with her. Who could have stolen a death certificate?" she wondered.

Kaggwa later talked to the daughter on phone and she said she had given the envelope containing the death certificate to one of her brothers. In a phone call, he never confessed to having taken the certificate.

Patrick Seruwu, a friend of Lutaaya's who helped repatriate his body, said as friends; they wanted to bring the body home so they felt it was right that his aunt who raised him was the right person to handle the matters.

"They just realised this evening that the document disappeared and we are not sure who took it. But if it was his brother, he should have asked for it from his aunt," he said.

The family then had to drive to Masaka Central Police Station where they recorded a statement of what had ensued after the burial.

Lutaaya's widow Dzunani Shirindzi said she suspects that one of the family members might have plans to collude with some unscrupulous people in South Africa in need of the death certificate.

"I have heard some rumours that some family members believe that Lutaaya had wealth in South Africa. They want to get a share of what he had worked for. But all that Lutaaya had invested in was his Project Space art studios that we are going to protect as co-partners because it has to continue," she explained.

However, Kaggwa assured Shirindzi that whoever stole the death certificate will have wait for long because her lawyers were handling the matter.

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