CAN OLD MUTUAL BE TRUSTED WITH POLICY HOLDER FUNDS AND EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUNDS?
The Life Assurance contract is defined in short as follows, “For an annual/half yearly/monthly consideration (Premium) less administration fees (Policy fee) the Life Assurance Company undertakes to pay out an agreed lump sum (Sum assured) with profits in the event of death of the policy holder to the beneficiaries of the policy holder.”
The major benefit of a Life Assurance policy to a policy holder is that loved ones (The family) will still enjoy the same standard of living if not better after their untimely death or permanent disability whichever comes first.
Several articles have been written and published in various newspapers on the Corporate Fraud that has been perpetrated by Pension Fund Managers and Life Assurance Companies like Old Mutual on the people of Zimbabwe.
In an article that appeared in the Newsday news paper of 15 December 2010, Alex Magaisa a Lawyer and Corporate Governance expert described the loss of Pre-dollarisation contributions to Pension Funds as Corporate Fraud and urged workers to file a collective lawsuit against Pension Fund Managers.
In another article in the Newsday of 19 December 2010 an official with the Insurance and Pensions Commissions Pupurai Togarepi told Insurance and Pension Funds that their valuation of Pre-dollarisation contributions were unfair, dishonest, insincere and suicidal in terms of undermining confidence in the industry.
In an article penned by Tafadzwa Musarara in the New Zimbabwe of 26 November 2011, he says and I quote “When the multi- currency regime was introduced in 2009, Old Mutual arbitrarily converted all policies and pensions into United States currency without knowledge and consent of the policy holders. No - one really knows what exchange rate was used and if there was any Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe foreign exchange dispensation granted.”
In the same article he says “Pensioners who had contributed for a lifetime were paid off equivalent to three months’ salary or less as final payment. Most of them are terminally ill and have no other source of income, but had hoped that their pensions where going to provide them some cushion. This also includes the children left by parents who succumbed to the AIDS scourge who had signed up to educational policies and pension covers to provide for their families’ future.”
The September 7, 2012 issue of the Zimbabwe Independent reports that the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) was at that time probing Old Mutual and DHL International over the sale of Old Mutual shares valued at US$742 560.00 which DHL’s employees said belonged to them at the time the financial conglomerate demutualised and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 1999.
In another article titled “Angry Pensioners slam Old Mutual” in the Zimbabwean of 25 January 2012, Joshua Weller (72) then, said and I quote “I have been in possession of two policies since 1994 and 1998 when the Zimbabwe dollar was still in existence. In May 2010, I got the shock of my life when a lady receptionist at the company’s Bulawayo branch told me that my two policies were now worth only $7.92. This is nonsense. Over the years Old Mutual invested my money. So what happened to my profits?” Weller said it was ironic that Old Mutual was spending large sums of money on adverts celebrating it’s “Over 165 years of wisdom in client’s investment” when it had utterly failed to do so. A question that really begs an answer is “CAN OLD MUTUAL BE TRUSTED WITH POLICY HOLDER FUNDS AND EMPLOYEE BENEFITS FUNDS?”
One arm of Old Mutual’s investment divisions, Old Mutual Properties, according to their website is one of the largest property investment managers in Zimbabwe with a portfolio of not less than (500 000m2) five hundred square metres valued at approximately (US$500 000 000.00) five hundred million dollars, with a deep skills base and boasts of one of the largest teams of property investment professionals.
Which brings us to the next question that equally begs an answer “Why was Old Mutual with “Over 165 years of wisdom in client’s investment”, a large property portfolio and a deep skills base unable to fairly compensate pre-dollarisation pension and life assurance policy holders?
On September 10, 2013, The Herald reports that former Old Mutual Chief Executive Officer Luke Ngwerume, Toddy Moyo and Tracy Mutaviri would get a US$12 000 000.00 loan from the Insurance group through their subsidiary CABS to acquire a 3.5 percent stake in the company as part of the company’s indegenisation compliance. Ngwerume was non-executive Director of CABS, Moyo was Chairman of CABS Midlands while Mutaviri was non-executive Director of Old Mutual Life Assurance Zimbabwe. This is certainly “Over 165 years of wisdom in client’s investment” and of course, no conflict of interest. One wonders what IPEC had to say about this.
Tafadzwa Musarara in an article in the Zimbabwe Mail had this to say “But under Ngwerume’s stewardship, Old Mutual perpetrated heinous economic injustices against the Blacks that had invested in the company. When dollarization was introduced four years ago, Old Mutual arbitrarily retired it’s own obligations from all the insurance covenants it had with thousands of subscribers. It went further to make once off payments to pensioners using an unknown and unauthorized exchange rate. The negative impact of this fraud on the welfare of those who subscribed to the company’s insurance policies has been devastating. Many families were left in abject poverty when breadwinners passed on and the policy did not pay as earlier committed. Old Mutual behaved like a bull in a China shop when it simply retired off all it’s Zimbabwe dollar policies. This all happened with the approval of Luke Ngwerume. This is the biggest fraud committed by a corporate.”
Another question, Were shares tied to Pension schemes managed by Old Mutual paid out to the intended beneficiaries? If Pension contributions invested with a Pension Fund Manager belong to workers, should the Fund Manager sell shares attached to these contributions on behalf of the employer without the knowledge or consent of the workers? The DHL International case is one case in point, what about those that went uncovered?
The time to bring Justice, fairness, accountability and to bring the corrupt and incompetent Fund Managers at Old Mutual to book is here. Corrective action must be taken by those that have been disadvantaged. The Law must be seen to be working for the people whose funds have been fleeced by Old Mutual.
Class Action against Old Mutual with the possibility of success is difficult given their unlimited resources and influence but it is not impossible with the right representation. We put together a database of people who have been prejudiced by Old Mutual and is organizing for a class action suit against Old Mutual Zimbabwe.
Policy holders and Pensioners who have been prejudiced and not compensated for loss of contributions and would like to be included in this class action suit are free to contact us with their details.
I wonder… As Old Mutual prides itself at being in business for 167 years, have they ever issued an official statement to justify how they flourished throughout years of colonial oppression in Africa and more recently through apartheid in South Africa. In Zimbabwe, Old Mutual always takes the position that all their actions and policies are in the interests of “poor old ladies who depended on pension payouts” yet take a very hostile stance towards tenants in their properties who are struggling to survive in an extremely harsh economic climate. Do “poor old ladies” benefit from properties lying unoccupied because no-one can afford rentals? Do “poor old ladies” benefit from the apparent conflict of interest where some shops at Eastgate Mall, Harare are leased out to relatives/spouses of Old Mutual executives? (Click HERE to see how pensioneers really feel about Old Mutual)
I guess when an organization is big enough with seemingly unlimited resources it is easy to bully anyone into submission. It’s a popular myth that Old Mutual is too big and powerful to fight legally in Zimbabwe.
Wait a Minute!!! Wait a Minute!!! Wait a Minute!!!
Is it true on not that Old Mutual was established and grew immensely in African countries that practiced apartheid and racist colonial oppression of indigenous peoples without ever making any apologies for their success???
Is it true or not that in Zimbabwe Old Mutual has a several major law firms on its books that cite conflict of interest when presented with a case against them???
Is it true or not that considering the size and wealth of this publicly traded company, their endowment and administration of the youth empowerment fund leaves a lot to be desired???
Is it true or not that Old Mutual is taking the legal position that they never turned off power to tenants’ premises when there is irrefutable evidence that the did so??? If you willfully distort the truth then YOU ARE a liar!
These are the truths that this site aims to expose. Instead of Old Mutual facing up to the truth and doing the right thing, they have instead engaged lawyers to cite usage of their logo on this site as copyright infringement in an effort to shut us down.
Yes, the biggest issue they have with this site is their precious brand mark. That’s akin to a physically abusive school-yard bully reporting to the principal that his victims are calling him names!
We could stoop to exposing the extra-marital affairs of some top executives that we know of but for now we shall stick to the real issues. It is important for stakeholders to realize that this site and its contents will exist on the Internet in one form or another. All the “party tricks” any of these top-dollar attorneys come up with will not silence the truth!
And now for a lesson in Corporate Governance Ethics and Principles (Old Mutual style):
Maybe Old Mutual itself believes its own hype. Why else would their executive always respond to any tenant grievances with a dare to seek legal advice???
When an unscrupulous wealthy man wants to divorce his wife without having to settle with her fairly he can use his resources to engage the services of all prominent divorce attorneys. He will have no intention of using all of them for the case but he is guaranteed that when his wife seeks legal advice all these attorneys will site conflict of interest as a reason not to assist. This practice is not illegal and may not even be unethical but it is kind of sleazy. It's interesting that the major law firms in Zimbabwe such as Scanlen & Holderness, Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans, Wintertons, Costa & Madzonga etc. will not entertain any legal queiries against Old Mutual citing conflict of interest...
Zimbabwe and its leadership are commited to righting the wrongs of colonial rule an and the empowerment programs offer the best evidence of this commitment. Foreign firms that enjoy the benefits of operating here have also have to show the same commitment. The video below illustrates some of the hypocrisy of Old Mutual
Old Mutual also responded to the government’s call for meaningful empowerment by introducing a youth fund that is meant to fund business projects by Zimbabwe youths. How much of this funding has actually benefited the youth? The same Zimbabwe youths that lost their livelyhoods when several Old Mutual properties lay vacant because business could not afford rents. For quite some time Old Mutual would rather have no tenants at Westgate, Highglen and the Chitungwiza complex than make rentals affordable enough for businesses to operate.
This youth fund appears to be a way of hoodwinking the government into believing Old Mutual has a real commitment to economic equality for indigenous Zimbabweans. They even had senior leadership officiate the launching of the find. Its reminiscent of British Lieutenant Francis Farewell handing over trinkets like music boxes to Shaka Zulu while raping the country of its resources.
Right now it is tempting for Old Mutual to think that they can just bury their heads in the sand like an ostrich and all this attention on their practises will just go away. They couldn't be more wrong. There are others that have also noticed the festering rot within their corporate policies and this site shall be the chosen platform to lay everything bare. At the very least, any nation that allows this corporation to operate within its borders and investors who part with their hard earned dollars worldwide will have a clearer picture of who they are in bed with. The link below points to a recent article concerning the administration of the youth fund:
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
A tenant at Eastgate, Harare has leveled allegations against Old Mutual for the destruction of the business by turning off power to their shop. Old Mutual’s defense is that they never turned power off. The video below shows otherwise:
When approached by a tenant seeking a resolution for settling outstanding rent payments, Old Mutual managing director, Zomunoda Chizura advised the tenant to “shut down his current business and seek employment elsewhere”.
And when another tenant approached Esatgate Portfolio Manager, Agnes Murape to propose a payment plan to settle outstanding rents she was told to vacate her shop and try getting a place “downtown” (a rundown area of Harare) because she obviously couldn’t afford Old Mutual rentals.
Who assigned Old Mutual employees as tenant’s business consultants? What give them the nerve to dictate how tenants should conduct business. I guess owing makes one subservient to the creditor.
Maybe this corporate culture is to be expected of a company that was established and has operated for over a century and enjoyed vast profits in a country that until recently did not recognize it’s indigenous inhabitants as actual human beings. Now that it’s Zimbabwean branch is run by a predominantly black directorate, I guess Old Mutual can divert attention from it’s racist colonial past. And just like the colonial “Majoni” policemen of colonial Zimbabwe, the directorate is happy to don its master’s uniform and do his bidding.
Those sitting at the helm of an organization are ultimately responsible for crafting and implementing corporate culture. If the corporate culture of an organization is that of tyrannical practices and basic lack of respect for human dignity then either the directorate endorses that culture or are clueless of their employees conduct. Which is it for Old Mutual? In addition to monetary return on investments, shareholders need to also apply a moral compass to their investment decision-making processes.