Dar es Salaam. Police in Rufiji District, Coast Region are investigating the death of a top official in the Finance ministry, Mr Leopold Lwabaje, whose body was found hanging from a tree in Mkuranga District after he had gone missing for several days.
Initially, Mr Lwajabe - who worked as a deputy Projects Director at the ministry of Finance and Planning, dealing with European Union-funded projects - had gone missing for nine days before he was abandoned near his home by people he claimed had abducted him.
A family spokesperson, Mr Mugisha Brassio, had explained that during the first disappearance, Mr Lwajabe left his office in the city centre, saying he was going to meet an unknown person in Sinza. According to the spokesperson, the unknown person had earlier contacted Mr Lwajabe and requested a meeting. He never went back home until he was “abandoned” near his home days later.
His family had reported the incident at the Mburahati Police Station.
Mr Lwajabe was still reporting at the station to help the police with their investigations into his disappearance. Then he went missing for the second time on July 26th.
The Finance ministry spokesperson, Ben Mwaipaja, said Mr Lwajabe left his office in the city centre three days earlier, to go to the Mburahati Police Station for further interrogation. Then he never returned home or to his office. Instead, he was found dead.
His body was found hanging from a mango tree near the Mkuranga District Hospital with a piece of rope round his neck. Rufiji Special Zone Police Commander Onesmo Lyanga said preliminary inquiries show that te official committed suicide.
“The face was strange to many of us; but, after searching through his trousers pockets, we were able to get his work ID which enabled us to report the incident to his employer.
“But we will continue to investigate. We still don’t know how he travelled all the way from Dar es Salaam - and did such a thing in Mkuranga. Whether he was sick or not - that remains a question for investigation,” said the police chief.
Mr Brassio had told The Citizen that their family has been restless since their relative went missing the first time.
“We were about to hold a joint press conference today [yesterday] with the ministry of Finance. But, before we did so, a police investigator called to inform us that [Mr Lwajabe’s] body had been found in Mkuranga. We were asked to go and identify him. We went, we found it was him,” the grieving Brassio said. Mr Lwajabe leaves behind a widow and three children.