MKM struggles to bury its dead

MKM struggles to bury its dead

MASERU – MKM Burial Society is so broke that it cannot pay for funerals.
The burial society was spared the chop when the Central Bank of Lesotho shut down the MKM group in November 2007 for illegally operating banking and insurance businesses.
As the group sank into liquidation the burial society continued to receive premiums from clients, sign up new policies and pay out claims.

Started in 1992, the burial society has thousands of clients who have loyally paid their premiums, hoping it will help them when they have funerals.
But now the burial society is failing to honour their policies, leaving most of them stranded.
An investigation by thepost has revealed that the burial society has been struggling for more than a year when its coffers started drying up.
The financial troubles however seem to have worsened in recent months as more claims remain unpaid. The biggest problem is that the burial society does not have any other source of funds apart from the premiums from clients whose policies have not matured.

At the same time thousands of policies have matured, putting pressure on its already strained financial resources.
To manage the crisis the society has resorted to making part-payments and stagger the remaining portions of the claims over months.
But even with those arrangements some clients say they have been waiting for more than a year to get paid.
Some bereaved families are resorting to borrowing to bury their relatives.
Some say they have been to the society’s offices dozens of times but have not been paid.
Molise Qhobosheane filed his claim on Apri 1, a day after his mother died.
When he went back a few days later the burial society gave him M100 instead of his claim of M10 000.
“They told me that the M100 was for transport,” Qhobosheane said, adding that they told him to come back a day before the burial.

When he went back he received only M5 000 and was promised that the remainder would be paid a few days later. Qhobosheane is yet to get his money and his efforts to speak to MKM boss Simon Thebe-ea-Khale, the society’s boss and founder, have failed.
’Mamonaheng Monaheng, from Thaba-Tseka, has only received half of the M5 000 she claimed to cover the funeral of her grandmother who died on March 11.
“We bought a beast for the burial ceremony on credit so I have to go back with the money to pay for it,” she said.
Ntoa Chabeli’s wife died in December 2016 and he was supposed to receive M10 000 from MKM Burial Society but he has been paid only M3 000.
In April this year his mother, who was also a client for MKM died, and she had a M5 000 funeral cover. Only M1 000 was paid out to Chabeli.
“This means that now they owe me M11 000,” he said.

Thebe-ea-Khale told thepost that the burial society cannot pay claims because it lost its properties when MKM was liquidated.
He said they used the premiums to buy several properties that were supposed to generate enough money to pay claims. Those properties, he said, were taken when the MKM group was liquidated.
“So, when we were closed and liquidated the MKM Burial Society, which is the rightful owner of the properties, was left with nothing,” Thebe-ea-Khale said.
“This disabled us so that we could not raise enough funds to pay claimants. It is difficult for us to raise money without the properties,” he said.
“The money we currently raise is just not enough.”

Thebe-ea-Khale said the MKM Burial Society was left as an empty shell and unfortunately the Central Bank and liquidators claimed that they had not touched it.
“Touching the properties built by MKM Burial Society and through which it was making money for its members meant that they touched the burial society itself,” he said.

Refiloe Mpobole

 

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