Insurance fraud suspects in court over sale of body

2013-01-08 00:00

A BIZARRE tale involving the sale of a cadaver from a state hospital and dressing a female corpse in a man’s pyjamas to hoodwink a doctor has led to the arrest of six people in connection with insurance fraud.

Police in KwaZulu-Natal say they have unearthed what they believe is a “huge syndicate” that specialises in taking out fraudulent life insurance policies.

Yesterday, six people appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud.

One of the accused, Mduduzi Ndlela (50), is alleged to have taken out life cover with both Metropolitan and Liberty Life for his uncle who died in 2002. The policy was taken out after his uncle had been buried.

The life insurance policies together were worth about R1,5 million.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge said: “In October 2012, he [Ndlela] wanted to proceed with the lodging of a fraudulent claim.

“His dilemma was that the uncle whose life he had covered was already dead.

“To overcome this obstacle he approached a woman who works at a funeral service in Durban and promised her R15 000 if she could organise a dead body and papers to help him secure a death certificate,” explained Mdunge.

To obtain a death certificate they needed the doctor to sign a confirmation of the death.

Mdunge said a company called Zivelele Funeral Services and Twin Sister Funeral services assisted Ndlela when he allegedly promised them R15 000 and R20 000 respectively.

Ndlela had to find a body that fitted his uncle’s description and an unsuspecting doctor to sign the death certificate.

Zivelele contacted Twin Sister who had a body, but it belonged to another family and was due for burial.

Twin Sister Funeral Services allegedly “lent” Ndlela the body and acquired another at RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth.

Wiseman Mabophe, an official at the hospital, was allegedly paid R3 000 for the body, but it was that of a female. They dressed the body up in a pair of men’s pyjamas and the unsuspecting family buried it at Shellcross cemetery.

Mabophe (33) appeared in court along with Ndlela, Nomusa Zungu (59), Papane Mzulwane (58), Sindiswa Duma (40) and Musa Duma (55).

The case was adjourned until January 16 for a bail application. The suspects would remain in custody, said Mdunge.

“This is a huge syndicate, which includes owners of funeral parlours, business people, claimants and officials employed in hospitals. They operate in groups,” he said.

Statistics of fraudulent insurance claims released by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa in November revealed that “the value of death, disability and funeral claims involving fraudulent documentation and syndicate activity” soared from R26,2 million in 2010 to R131,7 million in 2011.

Mdunge said more than 30 people had been arrested in the last three months in six life insurance fraud cases.

Liberty Life and Metropolitan were not available for comment at the time of going to press.

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