Thursday, 21 September

Only a court order can exhume a body mistakenly buried - Mortuaries CEO

A body being exhumed

The Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the Mortuaries and Funeral Facilities Agency (MoFFA) has expressed concerns about the practice of families attempting to exhume mistakenly buried bodies without a court order, emphasising that it is a violation of the law. 

He noted that many of these incidents result from errors in tagging at the mortuary and the misidentification of the deceased by individuals who claim to know them.

Dr Yaw Twerefour explained that the exhumation of a body can only be carried out legally with a court order. 

He urged families to familiarise themselves with the relevant laws to avoid prolonged family disputes.

In cases where a body is mistakenly buried, and other family members demand its retrieval, the proper legal procedure involves going to court to obtain an order for exhumation in collaboration with the police. 

Dr Twerefour emphasised that neither the police nor any other party has the authority to exhume a body without such a court order.

Speaking on the Obra Mu Nsem show on Accra-based CTV hosted by Ohenewa Kaseboahen on Friday, September 15, 2023, he cited an ongoing case in the Upper East region where a gentleman buried his father with a car, a practice that contravenes environmental laws. 

MoFFA has taken legal action against the individual and is seeking a court order to exhume the body, he added.

To ensure the maintenance of standards in the funeral industry, MoFFA's board includes representatives from various relevant authorities, including the Attorney General's office, a pathologist, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Government Authority.

Source: Mensah