THE failure by Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) to pay its workers over the past 15 months has resulted in some employees employing unscrupulous means to survive, with the latest development being an employee who faked his children’s death to claim funeral assistance.
Brian Nkomo (45) of F19 No.1 North in Hwange told the stunned court that he had to fake his children’s deaths to raise money to fend for his family after the company failed to honour its obligation to pay him.
“Your honour, things were not well with me, I was in a state of desperation I was left with no choice but to engage in this wrong thing,” he said when he appeared before Hwange provincial magistrate, Portia Mhlanga facing four counts of fraud.
The court heard that on February 2, 2013 Nkomo, who is employed by HCCL as a tyre fitter, went to Hwange Registry, where he lied that his daughter had died and he was issued with a burial order.
That same day, armed with the burial order, he proceeded to the company’s finance department, where he tendered a fictitious order in respect of his daughter.
Acting on that information, his employer paid $305 into Nkomo’s Trust Bank account as funeral assistance.
On April 3 this year Nkomo again proceeded to Hwange Registry offices, where he lied that his son had died and was issued with a burial order.
“He then proceeded to Hwange Colliery Company finance department, where he once again tendered a fictitious burial order in respect of (name withheld) resulting in the company depositing $510 into his account as funeral assistance,” prosecutor, Onias Nyathi said.
He said on June 20, Nkomo repeated the stance again and was given $100 to assist with funeral expenses, however, luck ran out for him when, on October 28, after securing a burial order for yet another child, he was caught before money could be transferred.
Investigations instituted by police following Nkomo’s arrest revealed that the children, whom he claimed had died, never existed.
Nkomo pleaded guilty to the four counts, prejudicing HCCL of $915.
He was remanded to today for sentencing.