Home South Africa UIF welcomes arrest for COVID-19 TERS fraud

UIF welcomes arrest for COVID-19 TERS fraud


The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has welcomed the arrests of 16 suspects accused of defrauding the COVID-19 Fund’s Temporary Assistance to Employers and Employees (TERS) program to the tune of R2.2 million.

The suspects were detained in the Gauteng and North West provinces of the South African Police Service’s Major Crime Squad, known as the Hawks.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor reported that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, three sole directors of various non-dormant organizations applied for TERS COVID-19 funds from the PIF on behalf of 47, 133 and 141 people, respectively, who apparently did not work for them.

At least 2.2 million rand of TERS’s COVID-19 funds were subsequently transferred to company bank accounts and the money directed to certain individuals for personal enrichment.

Following an investigation in this regard, the suspects were located and arrested on Sunday, November 27, 2022.

UIF Commissioner Teboha Maruping welcomed the latest arrests and commended the Hawks and the Risk Management, Anti-Fraud and Integrity Unit of the Department of Employment and Labor in the North West Province for their tireless hard work to bring down suspected COVID-19 TERS Book scams.

“The arrests of these 16 suspects in a single operation are the largest we have witnessed to date since the inception of the TERS COVID-19 scheme. I hope this bold action sends a strong and clear signal to would-be fraudsters and others that the long arm of the law will catch up with them.

“Those who helped themselves to the means intended for workers during the lockdown should not have peace of mind. They need to know that the network is coming to them. We will continue to work with the Hawks in our relentless pursuit to bring all COVID-19 TERS fraudsters to justice, and we will leave no stone unturned,” Maruping said.

The commissioner also said that the Fund is already conducting the 2nd phase of the “Watch the money” project, which includes auditing companies to check whether their claims were justified and whether the right amount of money was paid to the workers in the correct manner. time

“We have appointed several forensic audit firms with more than 360 auditors who are currently visiting companies that have benefited from TERS COVID-19 funds and are suspected of fraud. We will not rest until all fraudulent funds are fully recovered and the suspects brought to justice.

“In this regard, the UIF will continue to work with the Department of Employment and Occupational Risks, the Fraud and Integrity Unit and law enforcement partners,” Maruping said.

In 2020, the UIF was tasked with reducing poverty in the country by providing short-term financial assistance to businesses and workers to help the economy survive the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, 10 people have been convicted and sentenced to prison or suspended sentences for TERS COVID-19 fraud.

Meanwhile, 46 suspects have been arrested so far and the Foundation expects more arrests as Phase 2 of the Watch the Money project, which began in July 2022, continues. – SAnews.gov.za

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