By Billy Ntaote
MASERU — Members of the Bakubung Burial Society — one of the clients of Phokeng Funeral Parlour (PTY) Ltd which is fighting liquidation in the courts of law — are afraid they could end up losing tens of thousands of maloti after they were told to stop paying premiums this month.
According to the disgruntled members, their troubles started in June 2012 after Phokeng Funeral Parlour purchased ABC Insurance Brokers, to which they had been paying premiums since December 2006.
Documents seen by the Lesotho Times show Bakubung’s 30 members had been paying joint monthly premiums of M1 080, with each member contributing M36. To-date, the group says it has paid a total of M93 960, with the expectation that members would receive funeral cover.
However, following Phokeng’s purchase of ABC, the firm came under fire from the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL), which had indicated that ABC Insurance Brokers was operating illegally after failing to renew its licence.
The CBL subsequently took Phokeng to court last year, and obtained an order for the liquidation of the company.
But in an attempt to avert liquidation, Phokeng applied for a stay of execution which the High Court granted on January 9 this year.
The funeral home is now awaiting a ruling by the Appeal Court regarding the liquidation.
But the rejection of the Bakubung Burial Society premiums has alarmed clients, who now fear their investment could have been in vain.
While members of the burial society say the funeral parlour is refusing to accept their monthly premiums, they also allege that the company is also struggling to pay its clients whenever claims are made.
Meanwhile, when Justice Lebohang Molete granted the stay of execution in January, he also put conditions that the provisional liquidator, Attorney Moroesi Tau-Thabane, would immediately make an inventory and retain control of all the funds and assets of the company pending the finalisation of the appeal.
Justice Molete said: “The applicant is not allowed to collect any premiums from the public, unless an equivalent amount is placed as security with the Master of the High Court. The security should be paid in advance of the expected premiums.”
Contacted for comment, Phokeng Funeral Parlour director, Tebatso Molapo, referred the Lesotho Times to his lawyer, Advocate Nonnie Da Silva Manyokole.
However, Manyokole said she would issue a press release, together with the liquidator, in due course.