Man fakes relatives’ deaths

0
44

A GROUNDSMAN with the Bulawayo City Council feigned the death of one of his relatives he had put on a funeral policy with First Mutual Life Assurance and was paid $1 500 towards her burial expenses before being bust when he tried to claim burial expenses for a second relative.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Sydney Ncube (33) of Magwegwe North was convicted on his own plea of guilty to two counts of fraud when he appeared before Bulawayo senior provincial magistrate Abednico Ndebele.

He was remanded in custody to today for sentencing.

Convicting him, Ndebele said the court does not condone people who scheme to defraud institutions and there was need to send a clear message to like-minded offenders.

“Come tomorrow as we assess an appropriate sentence for you. It’s most likely to be a custodial sentence,” he said. “I don’t know how long. As of now, you will be in custody and we deal with you tomorrow (today).”

Asked by Ndebele why he had committed the offence, Ncube said he no longer had good relations with the relatives, so he wanted to remove them from his policy.

“So you decided to lie that they are dead? You wished them dead,” Ndebele asked.

Ncube remained mum.

Prosecutor Raymond Makhaza told the court that on August 15 2013, Ncube went to First Mutual Life Assurance offices in the city centre and claimed funeral expenses for Sinikiwe Sibanda, whom he had put in his policy together with his brother-in-law Edmore Sibanda.

He claimed that Sinikiwe had died two days earlier and produced a certificate of death that he had fraudulently acquired at the Filabusi registry.

However, his luck ran out on December 13 when he tried to claim funeral expenses for Edmore purporting that he too had died.

An official at First Mutual Life Assurance became suspicious about the claim and decided to investigate.

She went to the Filabusi registry and discovered that Ncube had forged a village head’s signature and fraudulently applied for death certificates for Sinikiwe and Edmore.

The village head confirmed that the two were alive and denied ever writing letters confirming their deaths.

A police report was made, leading to Ncube’s arrest.