1 years and 4 months passed without an update on Douglas Munatsi’s Death
It is now one year and four months since the mysterious death of Douglas (Doug) Tawanda Munatsi and the nation is yet to be updated on the circumstances of the death of the former Chief Executive of one of the most important institutions in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA). Surely, the nation and potential investors have been sitting on the edge hoping to know what transpired before, during and after the death of the executive of one of Zimbabwe’s powerful institutions.
Doug Munatsi was an ex-banker, a large-scale farmer, business executive and a real estate mogul. Whose Forbes estimated net worth to be USD130 million.
By now the investigations should have been completed and should have been done by a very senior police officer or chief inspector up to the chief superintendent. While we wait for a press conference or any other mode of update from our law enforcement, there are more questions than answers and most of the answers are in the technology that existed around him and possible suspects. If indeed Doug has been murdered as speculated by some,In this age of mobile Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology there is nothing like, “A perfect murder” anymore, if he was indeed murdered, the individual or individuals will definitely be caught. Today, Technology might not be able to stop a crime from taking place, but it has significantly increased the probability that law breakers will be caught and will be punished. Technology has changed everything including crime and the way police investigate crime is no exception. Therefore, our law enforcement should have built a war chest of digital evidence and recreate what led to the death of Zimbabwe’s top banker.
Internationally digital evidence touches all investigations and in Zimbabwe there is now a growing emphasis on such evidence which is mostly handled by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) cyber lab. At the time of his death, Douglas was staying at one of the most expensive apartments. The average buying price for this type of apartment is over one million dollars, which has one of the best security setup which includes CCTVs, security guards who record who comes and goes. Above that is a block of apartments which is directly opposite the home of the President of Zimbabwe which is heavily guarded by our heavily armed soldiers.In this case the CCTV footage should have been the only useful tool in this death case. It was going to be relevant for this case as it captures who came to the apartment and who left indicating the time of entry and time of exit. Other technological solutions like mobile phone records and social media tend to be more often effective in solving such homicides. Doug’s Smartphone site analysis was vital as it places where he was and who he was with at the time of his death. Just like any other evidence, investigators have probable cause and a search warrant to search and seize smartphones, computers, tablets, and other devices. Our smartphones are always with us, so if the investigator can get hold of Doug’s smartphone that is usually the treasure trove of evidence that is needed to solve this case.
In such crimes, Social media also plays a role in many cases. The fact that people are using their smartphones to take photos and post or send those out to family members helps to solve the identity of individuals who were with the individual. That is where our detectives really should have gone through and combed through social media platforms and phone evidence. Surveillance evidence and the technology really ended up linking other people to the crime that were either there or involved.
Just because our smart devices are providing evidence in criminal investigations, does not mean that such evidence will be admissible in Zimbabwe’s court. Just as with many of our modern scientific evidentiary milestones, from DNA evidence, to ballistics, to handwriting examples, the evidence as we included in the signed Data Protection Bill to be admissible. Digital evidence is not just creeping into criminal investigations. It is already making an impact in civil suits, Zimbabweans are reporting social media abuse and physical abuse using their digital evidence. Are Zimbabwe’s Courts Ready for digital evidence? Courts are likely to struggle with the increase in digital evidence, at least initially. How are they going to store it and where? Is it secure and who will secure it. There is a lot of controversy now about collecting data from personal devices of individuals or even the company-enabled devices which are included in the Data Protection Bill. There is more and more data, more privacy concerns, collections concerns, possession, custody, and control concerns.
Using the digital evidence collected for today’s Internet of Things (IOT) which includes his CCTV, smartphone, social media communications and smart car the law enforcement agencies will be able to put together how Douglas Tawanda Munatsi lost his life. Technology has become part and parcel of today and future investigations and should be leading the process in the much anticipated public press conference or update on Doug’s investigation.
Let’s build confidence in our investment environment and reveal how Douglas Tawanda Munatsi lost his life in November 2021.
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