City Coroner to report mortuary orderlies to Bribery Commission

By Jayantha de Silva

City Coroner Edward Ahangama on Tuesday announced his intention to report to the Bribery Commission several Colombo Mortuary orderlies who had solicited a bribe to release a body.

Ahangama said that some orderlies attached to the Colombo Mortuary who had thrown away Rs.2000 that was offered to them when their alleged demand was for Rs.6000 to prepare a Muslim man’s body for burial after the post mortem on Monday (6) would be reported to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

"I shall attach the copies of evidence in the complaint," he asserted.

President of the All Island Muslim Janaza Funeral Society S.M. Omer Kathab said at the inquest that a complaint would be lodged with the Ministry of Justice pertaining to the alleged demand of graft at the mortuary.

He claimed that Muslims were specially targeted by the mortuary hands in demanding graft to attend to bodies."I have witnessed mortuary attendants soliciting Rs.15,000 from Muslims to release the body," he said.

The witness was giving evidence before City Coroner Edward Ahangama at the adjourned inquest into the death of Abdul Carder (47) a returnee from Saudi Arabia, a father of three girls whose family was in a refugee camp in the Puttalam area.

The witness added that the body was found on the 4th at the Night Bazaar in the vicinity of the Fort Railway Station.

An ID and a driving license were found in the deceased’s trouser pockets.

At the postmortem examination conducted on (5) by AJMO D.I.L.Ratnayake the cause of death was found to be Coronary artery thrombosis and the coroner pronounced a verdict of ‘death from natural causes’.

Soon after the verdict the drama unfolded when the mortuary attendants demanded Rs.6000 from Abbas Sajahan, the brother of the deceased for the purpose of the customary cleansing of the body which was in a state of decay prior to its release for burial.

When he had offered Rs.2000 the money had been thrown on his face.

In the end, he relented and had to borrow Rs.500 to meet their demands.

However, when the body was taken away and ‘Kafan’ or the white shroud was removed, blood had spurted from the post mortem sutures in the worm infested body.

"I was shocked by the state of the body released from the mortuary as sutures had being applied haphazardly leaving wide gaps, even after taking the money demanded by them, lamented Omer.

Witness said that they could identify the culprits.

PC 71301 led evidence.

PS 27689 Pathirana assisted.

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