Zimbabwe: Doves Burial Scandal - Regulator Steps in

Judge's gavel (file photo).
7 December 2021

The Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) is investigating the burial fiasco involving the family of the late Maxwell Chimwamurombe and Doves Funeral Services (Doves).

It is alleged that there was a burial mix up and Doves kept Chimwamurombe's body in their mortuary for six months after burying an empty coffin at his home in Nyanga.

After realising the mistake, Doves then secretly buried Chimwamurombe's body together with an unknown person in the same coffin in a pauper's burial at Harare's Granville Cemetery popularly known as (KuMbudzi).

The two bodies were exhumed in November under police investigations, and they were taken to Parirenyatwa hospital mortuary for DNA tests.

Police are expected to conduct another exhumation process in Nyanga to confirm the family buried an empty coffin.

Justifying its involvement, the regulator said the matter involved Doves Life Assurance (Private) Limited, which falls under its purview

Ipec also notified that all stakeholders will be informed after its processes are finalised.

"The Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) is a statutory body established in terms of the Insurance and Pensions Commission Act (Chapter 24:12), to regulate, supervise and monitor the activities of insurance entities and pension funds. IPEC is seized with the case of the alleged improper burial of a Doves Life Assurance policy beneficiary, the late Maxwell Chimwamurombe by Doves Funeral Services (Pvt) Ltd," IPEC said in a statement Monday.

"While IPEC does not regulate funeral service providers such as Doves Funeral Services (Pvt) Ltd, its interest was drawn by the fact that the matter also involved the insurer, Doves Life Assurance, which it regulates. To this end IPEC and other stakeholders are seized with this matter. Other stakeholders will be informed of the outcome after the ongoing processes have been finalised.

The scandal led to pressure mounting on the Doves chief executive officer, Farai Matsika to step down due to suitability issues.

Matsika is currently facing multiple legal battles over the shareholding in the fledgling company.

The pressure on Matsika to step down has been fuelled by a heated dispute over shareholding in the company whereby allegations of fraud have been levelled against him.

The embattled CEO currently has three extant court orders operating against him, barring him from transferring the assets of Doves to any third party, restricting him from convening meetings and stopping any dealing in Doves shares.

In one such matter, filed with the High Court under HC1710/21 wherein IPEC is cited as a party, Matsika is accused of diverting an immovable property purchased by Doves to his own company, Faramatsi Motors (Private) Limited.

IPEC is a constitutionally constituted regulatory body for insurance and life assurance companies.

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