People will soon be arrested for fraud with the Covid-19 Benefit of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
UIF risk chief Tshepiso Maphatane confirmed this on Friday. He gave more details to Parliament on three of the 75 cases investigated involving the disbursement of the Covid 19 Temporary Relief Scheme (Covid19Ters) since April.
In one case, which has already been reported, a person apparently created an employer profile on his own, filled in his own banking details and allegedly stole R5.7 million from the UIF. TimesLivereported Tshepang Phohole, a 25-year-old former factory worker, allegedly paid the money from his accounts to those of 27 family and friends. A second-hand Volkswagen Polo and catering equipment were apparently bought with it. Nearly R3.3 million of the money or goods purchased could be recovered; R2.4 million is still clean.
Maphatane cited another case in which R4.7m was wrongly paid. Of this, R4,6 million was recovered in time after the recipient had already spent just over R100 000.
In the third case, R700 000 was paid into the wrong bank account.
Among the 75 fraud cases is also a case where applications have been filed on behalf of 35 employees who have already died. This is one of six cases where money was claimed on behalf of the dead or people on maternity leave.
There are also 26 cases where employers withheld money or overpaid their workers, or where ghost workers were created on behalf of whom benefits were applied for.
UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping says as far as they can determine, there has been no collusion in the UIF’s fraud cases, but this is not excluded and the fund is working closely with the Falcons to find all culprits.
Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Employment and Labor, assured parliamentarians that everything would be done to recover the lost money.
According to Nxesi, the UIF was aware from the outset of the possibility of fraud, and all suspicious transactions would be audited.
UIF chief operating officer Judith Kumbi explained that the fund had to create the system in a very short time to provide for Covid-19 relief. New business processes had to be developed, and as the fraud cases emerged, they were closed to close loopholes and strengthen the control systems, for example through the verification and confirmation of ID numbers and banking details, as well as to tighten the process of renewing passwords. make.
A system of tracking the money track was tested at 31 companies and three cases were found where an employer claimed for a full month, but then the company started working again earlier than expected. In these cases, they had to repay the money demanded to the UIF.
In the meantime, the UIF continued to pay its normal benefits to the unemployed, Maruping said. So far this year R2.51 billion has been paid to 406,608 unemployed, and R470 million has been paid for maternity leave.
Nxesi warned that the UIF is not an inexhaustible source of money, and that the fund must start looking at the sustainability of the fund.
Maruping says R40bn has been set aside for Covid-19 benefits in the fund, but they expect the amount to increase as more people lose their jobs.