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Durban - A funeral parlour owner wanted by the police for her part in a suspected R6 million life insurance scam was shot dead on Sunday night, prompting suspicions that she had been silenced to stop her from exposing her accomplices.
Faith Msibi was driving to her home in Driefontein, near Ladysmith, at 8pm when she was killed.
The day before her murder the Durban commercial crime unit arrested four people, all known to Msibi, and charged them with fraud. The police had been on the verge of question Msibi when she was killed.
Captain Thulani Zwane said that detectives had been investigating two fraudulent insurance claims. The first was for R3m paid to a group, including Msibi, in October last year. The second, also for R3m, had been lodged by the same people but was unpaid.
Zwane would not confirm whether Msibi’s murder was linked to the suspected fraud.
Mbongileni Miya, Msibi’s cousin, said yesterday that Msibi had been killed to “eliminate the evidence”.
“It is clear that she was being silenced,” Miya said.
“She had come to show us her new car and see our grandmother. She mentioned she thought people were following her.”
Zwane said the police had found that a Bergville family, the Nenes, of Mazizini, had buried their son, Themba, in March 2011 but had not been able to register his death because Msibi’s funeral parlour had misplaced his identity document.
In January last year a death certificate, the identity document and R15 000 in cash had been taken to the Nene family.
“Mrs Nene asked what the money was for, but the response was that the funeral parlour was thanking the Nene family for not rushing them when their son’s identity document went missing,” said Zwane. The date of death on the certificate was September last year.
Zwane said: “Investigations revealed that the missing identity document had two life cover policies from two different insurance companies valued at R6m linked to it. Both policies were taken out after Themba was buried.”
The policies had been taken out on Themba by a funeral parlour employee, he added.
Among those arrested was a 51-year-old taxi owner who allegedly bought a coffin for a funeral which never took place.
The four fraud suspects appeared in Durban’s commercial crime court yesterday. No arrests have been made in connection with the murder.