An 85-year-old doctor accused of issuing a fake death certificate is negotiating a plea deal with the NPA, the Durban Regional Court has heard.

Dr Eric van der Veen is one of four people charged with fraud in a case in which an allegedly illegal Old Mutual insurance claim of R6.5m is being probed, News24 reports.

The doctor returned to court yesterday after the matter was postponed in September.

Van der Veen previously denied any wrongdoing and approached the office of the KZN DPP, Advocate Elaine Harrison, to have his name removed from the list of accused.

He claimed that ‘he was too old for trial’.

However, his attempt failed and he is now arguing for a lenient sentence.

Prosecutor Herman Morton said the plea could be settled next month. Van der Veen has been charged together with Emmanuel Ponan, his girlfriend Merlen Munusamy and Sifiso Gabela, a funeral parlour director.

The Hawks, which investigated the matter, said the incident occurred in Durban early in 2020.

According to a previous News24 report, KZN Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said Ponan applied for R6.5m life cover with Old Mutual in February 2020.

Three months later, Munusamy allegedly submitted a fraudulent claim in her capacity as a beneficiary.

Old Mutual became suspicious and launched an investigation.

Ponan, Munusamy and Gabela are expected to return to court on 17 November.

The matter will be moved to 8 December when all four accused are expected to appear.

Full News24 report