A former teammate of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer thought to have been killed in a car crash in 2016 has aroused the suspicions of insurers by reportedly returning to work and discussing his fake death, according to reports.

Hiannick Kamba was believed to have died in a traffic accident in his native Congo more than four years ago, prematurely ending a career that began in the youth ranks of Bundesliga side Schalke alongside future World Cup winner Neuer.

Kamba’s apparently tragic death at the age of 29 was described as “very sad” and a “terrible misfortune” by regional side VfB Huls, who he played for at the time.

But the former right-back has now reportedly resurfaced in the Ruhr area, starting work as a chemist for an electricity supplier and telling colleagues about his “fake death”.

The account by German newspaper Bild suggests that insurers are dubious about Kamba’s death certificate, with the report suggesting an investigation has been launched into possible insurance fraud, with his wife receiving a six-figure payout from insurers following the player’s recorded “death.”

Prosecutor Anette Milk told Bild: “The accused is accused of fraud. But she denies the fact. The proceedings are still ongoing.”

The report claims that Kamba’s wife only knew of the insurance after his death notice was issued, adding that it is unclear whether the Congolese documents confirming his death were falsified or corruptly obtained in Africa.

Prosecutors in the city of Essen are now said to be investigating the case and reports that Kamba could have applied to return to Germany through an embassy more than two years ago, where he has allegedly moved back to his former home near Gelsenkirchen.

Kamba is reportedly being lined up as a witness in a potential trial in what could be the latest unlikely chapter in his extraordinary life.

He fled Congo to live in the Ruhr area before joining Schalke, only to find out that his parents were being deported while he was taking part in a youth cup final. Kamba himself escaped the same fate when he was 18 because of his position as a professional footballer.

Parents, teachers and friends collected around €4,000 ($4,312) to help the youngster survive in Germany, and he later featured alongside internationals including Mesut Ozil in an exhibition celebrating the achievements of migrant footballers in Germany.