Doves $2,8b in the red

Roadwin Chirara

DOVES Morgans Funeral Services, the country’s largest funeral company, is in the red to the tune of $2,8 billion, a debt that could cripple its operations, businessdigest can reveal.
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The debt, which insiders blame on poor management, is against the company’s anticipated revenues of $800 million for this month.


Doves Morgans managing director Charity Chanetsa, a former news anchor at the then Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, was recently fired allegedly over accounting irregularities.


Other senior employees have either resigned or been fired, it emerged this week.


Confidential documents in possession of businessdigest indicate that the funeral house owes almost $1 billion to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (Vat).


The company has been failing to remit funds owed to the revenue body, leading to the amount ballooning on a monthly basis.


By the end of August, the company owed $505 million as PAYE and $480 million in the form of Vat.


Doves also owes its medical aid provider over $50 million after paying $32 million recently.


The documents also show that the funeral house is struggling to pay back a loan of $161 million to the Leasing Company of Zimbabwe.


The company is also in arrears with most of its creditors, with some calling in their loans leading to the company budgeting $482 million as repayment package.


Doves is also failing to service a $500 million loan for its coffin-manufacturing arm, Silkwood.


Some of the debts by Doves are for salaries ($430 million), medical aid ($56 million), National Social Security Authority development levy ($11 million), operating expenses and creditors ($150 million), Scotfin ($22 million), management fees ($50 million), Silkwood invoices ($150 million), and motor vehicle expenses ($165 million).


The crisis at Doves has resulted in the resignation of three management executives after the company’s chief executive officer designate, Judith Chamboko, threw in the towel.


Posts for human resources and strategic planning have since been frozen.

Doves spokesperson Nyasha Mahachi confirmed that the company had been hit by a mass exodus of executives and had terminated the services of some.


“We have had some executives resigning and some posts being terminated. You should realise that this is all part of our turnaround strategy as a company,” said Mahachi.

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