A FORMER manager with International General Insurance (IGI), who defrauded his employer and the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) of over $66 000 monthly subscriptions paid by the council for life assurance cover, was yesterday sentenced to five years in jail.
REPORT BY SILAS NKALA STAFF REPORTER
Ernest Sewera (60) denied the theft and fraud charges, but Bulawayo magistrate Rose Dube convicted and sentenced him to five years in jail, bringing the case, which has been dragging since 2010, to finality.
One year of the sentence was suspended provided he restituted the company and BCC $66 382,72 which he defrauded.
The court heard that in 2004, Sewera was employed by IGI as a manager when the company secured 764 employees from BCC into its life assurance scheme and collected premiums for both the group and individual schemes from council.
The money was deposited into IGI’s Harare CBZ account.
On May 12, 2010, Sewera collected $19 886,53 from BCC on behalf of IGI for both individual and group policies for January 2010 subscriptions.
He deposited $17 986 into IGI’s account and pocketed $1 900,53.
He went on to collect $20 087,44 from the local authority on May 22, banked $18 637 into IGI account and remained with the balance of $1 450,44.
On June 18, Sewera collected $1 333,33 from the same client and pocketed it all.
It also came out that on August 2, Sewera misrepresented to BCC that IGI had changed its trading name to IGI Life, prompting BCC to transfer $21 977,36 members subscriptions for April 2010 through RTGS to the new account he gave.
On August 12, after again misrepresenting to BCC, he collected $20 816,06 from the council.
A further $18 905 was transferred to IGI Life’s account on September 28 by BCC at Sewera’s instruction.
He connived with three other former employees at the company to defraud BCC and IGI through submitting a letter stopping BCC from banking the money into the IGI account, but to deposit it into IGI Life’s account domiciled at CBZ Bulawayo.
This then led to the discovery of the fraud leading to Sewera’s arrest. His alleged accomplices are still at large. Nothing was recovered.
In mitigation, Sewera asked the court to be lenient saying he had five children to take care of since his wife was late.
Jeremiah Mtsindikwa prosecuted.