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'Fraudulent' mortician demoted to a cleaner

28 May 2015, 15:31 John Kioko

Mombasa - A mortuary attendant at Msambweni hospital accused of extorting locals before working on bodies of their beloved ones has been demoted, a medical officer has confirmed.

Msambweni medical officer of health, Fatma Harji said that Elizabeth Mweni has been assigned new duties as cleaner at the facility instead of working at the morgue.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Dr. Harji said that Mweni who is working on a casual basis has been having issues with locals at the facility.

Mweni was on Tuesday accused by some locals of trying to extort KES 3 000 from them before working on a body, which is what she is paid to do.

The issue attracted hospital management's attention after Kwale Human Right Network Secretary General, George Jaramba raised it.

The family of the late Alfonse Liyai, is said to have been forced to work on the body themselves as they claimed to have paid the officer close to KES 5 000 for preservation of the body.

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Reports of her sacking went viral on social media Wednesday, with locals lauding the management for 'doing the right thing.'

But Msambweni medical officer of health, Fatma Harji said that she had written a letter to Mweni asking her to take up other duties of cleaning or leave the facility.

“She was not sacked as claimed but I transferred her to another department because actually her problem is poor communication with the public and not extortion,” she said.

Dr. Harji said that Mweni was asking the locals to pay her for services of dressing the deceased which is always done by relatives themselves.

“Dressing of the deceased is the work of relatives and those who can’t do it obviously have to negotiate with mortuary attendant and that does not require any receipt. That is exactly what she is being accused of," said the officer.

She said that Mweni has a problem of communicating with clients because she is the only casual worker whose case has been reported to her office since 2013.

“Unfortunately, she is the best when it comes to handling bodies at the morgue and postmortem. That is why even after suspending her recently, I had to take her back specifically to do postmortem where she doesn’t engage locals directly,” she said.

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