Mum convicted for faking son’s death to claim benefits

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MASVINGO — A 42-year-old woman employed by sugar-producing concern Tongaat Hulett was on Tuesday convicted of faking her son’s death to defraud an insurance firm of $1 500 in benefits.

By Tatenda Chitagu

Dzokai Rutaga, who pleaded guilty to the charge, will hear her sentence today from Masvingo magistrate Victor Mohammed.

Prosecuting, Joshua Mundondo told the court that Dzokai hatched the plan on November 13 last year where she got a fake burial order number 989/14 and approached First Mutual Life company’s Masvingo branch where she lied that her son had passed on.

She was given a funeral claim of $1 200 and was told to collect the balance upon production of a birth certificate.

The court further heard that she brought a death certificate on December 8 and was given $300.

It is not stated in court papers how she obtained the cooked-up burial order, and no accomplices have been cited as co-accused.
However, auditors from First Mutual Life, doing a cross-check on claims, discovered that it was fraudulent as Dzokai’s son was alive and kicking and was at school.

They made a report to the police leading to her arrest.

This is not the first time that First Mutual Life has fallen prey to fraudsters who fake deaths of their dependants to claim funeral payouts.

Last month, Mary Matare (32), a policewoman based in Mashava, was hauled before the courts for faking her husband’s death in a bid to defraud the funeral insurance company of $1 500 in funeral policy benefits.

She was jointly charged with her husband Maxwell Matare and Victor Chademana (32), an employee at the Registrar-General’s Office.

Their trial is still pending at the courts.