Afre dumps EcoLife product

AFRICA Reinsurance Corporation Limited (Afre) is working with an Indian company to come up with a new life insurance product after having dumped EcoLife which it designed with Econet Wireless Holdings Zimbabwe Limited (Econet), the Managing Director of First Mutual Life (Private) Limited (FML), Ruth Nsube, has confirmed.

"We have traveled to India and we will soon be announcing a new product to replace EcoLife," Ncube said in Harare.

"We cannot tell you how it will operate but it ill be along similar lines to that of EcoLife."

Frustrated telecommunications giant, Econet, pulled out of Afre saying the company's image was being tarnished by "in-house" squabbles at the financial firm.

This was after a more than $5 million scam was unearthed involving senior directors at Afre and managers who gave themselves huge loans at the expense of shareholders.

Econet had a huge stake in Afre but immediately pulled out of the firm.

The Afre Chairman, Tawanda Nyambirai, and several other senior employees resigned from the Afre Board after the scam that named Patterson Timba and Dunmore Kundishora as the main beneficiaries of the loans syndicate.

Nyambirai is the current Chairman of Econet, Zimbabwe's leading cellular network operator with more than six million subscribers.

EcoLife was an insurance policy for customers of First Mutual Life (Private) Limited. "We have replaced the EcoLife product," Ncube said.

"We definitely will be releasing a new product on the Zimbabwe market soon." FML is a cash rich subsidiary of Afre which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE.

Last month angry Afre shareholders refused to allow a Board member and former Chief Executive Officer of their company, Dunmore Kundishora, to rejoin their Board.

"The motion has failed," said the Non Executive Chairman, Innocent Chagonda at the company's Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Harare.

"Mr Dunmore Kundishora will not be rejoining the Board for 2012." He was the only individual who failed to make it to the top table.

Kundishora and his relative, Patterson Timba, are alleged to have abused funds at Afre and Rennaisance Financial Holdings Limited, where they are major shareholders.

They allegedly milked Rennaisance Merchant Bank (RMB) to the tune of about $5 million last year causing mayhem in the country's financial system.

The duo gave themselves hefty loans which they did not repay. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, then requested that they be investigated and suspended.

The two then quit their top posts at Rennaisance and Afre. Afre is currently led by Douglas Hoto, an arcturial science specialist.

Telecommunications giant, Econet was last year forced to disinvest in Afre after the financial scam was unearthed in Harare. The group said they "did not want their image to be tarnished".

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