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Several more fraud charges are expected to be brought against the alleged kingpin of a Durban insurance scam.
On Wednesday, Nkosinathi Zungu and his co-accused Nonhlanha Gumede and Sabelo Mashiya, appeared in the commercial crime court.
The police arrested them after an intensive three-month investigation carried out by officers of the Durban commercial crime unit.
Zungu, a funeral parlour owner, and Gumede, a teacher, have been charged with fraud in connection with submitting false life insurance claims.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said that Gumede had allegedly stolen people’s ID books and taken out funeral policies in their names.
She would then claim from the insurance companies eight months later, saying that the person had died of natural causes.
Zungu would then allegedly release from his mortuary the body of a person the same age as the falsely insured person, so that a death certificate could be secured.
Mashiya, who is the chairman of the KwaDukuza Funeral Undertaker Association, has also been charged because the police allege that he referred people who wanted to make fraudulent claims to Zungu.
The police found out about the scam, which they believe has been operating for years, after a police officer discovered that she was “dead” on the Home Affairs Department’s database.
Mdunge said the investigations had revealed that 85 fraudulent claims had been lodged by people using undertakers from Stanger.
A police source close to the investigating team, who cannot be named because he is not allowed to speak to the media, said yesterday that at least 15 more dockets were being investigated.
“We still need to ascertain whether all the accused are implicated in these cases,” the source said. “But there will definitely be more charges against Zungu. Currently the amount of money defrauded is just over a million rand, but we expect this figure to grow.”
All three suspects are out on bail. The case was adjourned until next month.