Pensioner arrested for R4.3m UIF TERS fraud

Yet another suspect will appear before a commercial crimes court for alleged fraud and theft of large sums from the UIF COVID-19 Temporary Employer and Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

The suspect, a 62-year-old, was arrested on Sunday by the Hawks Serious Corruption Investigation unit in Hammanskraal. He is expected to appear before the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Monday.

This brings to 14 the number of people arrested linked to UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) TERS fraud.

In a statement, the Hawks said the pensioner will be charged with fraud, alternatively theft and money laundering.

“The 62-year-old pensioner was arrested after he failed to disclose that he became an instant millionaire. The money was meant to remunerate employees of a certain company to be disclosed in court papers,” the Hawks said.

The Hawks said they understood that the suspect worked for the same company and allegedly used the same reference number from his previous employer to apply for his UIF payout.

It was later found after numerous enquiries by the company that the money was actually paid but was redirected to the suspect’s account.

A case was registered and almost R4.6 million has already been recovered. He allegedly used almost R100 000 on himself.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, Sergeant Thokozane Mchunu (34), Sergeant Nqobile Witness Mzimela (39) and Sboniso Percival Khanyile (25) will also appear in the same court on Monday, after they were arrested last week in Durban for alleged fraud and money laundering of R692 000, also linked to the same UIF COVID–19 TERS.

National Adhesive applied for relief funds for their employees. However, it emerged that the company’s banking details were fraudulently changed and the R692 000 was redirected to another bank account.

It was ultimately found that the account belonged to Mchunu from the Durban Central Tactical Response Team.

He allegedly transferred the money to Khanyile and Mzimela, who is attached to the Durban tracking Team.

Almost R240 000 has already been frozen. A bakkie and land were also seized, and are expected to be forfeited to the State.

The National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has hailed the arrest as another breakthrough by the team, which is speedily arresting and bringing suspects to court.

“This would not have been possible without a collective effort and the assistance of the National Prosecuting Authority, Asset Forfeiture Unit, Financial Intelligence Centre, Priority Crime Specialised Investigation and the Intelligence community. Their unwavering determination is highly appreciated,” the Hawks said.

Lebeya said pensioners are supposed to be role models to their children and grandchildren. “Without suggesting the guilt of the suspect, the behaviour of this manner suggests a bad role model.” – SAnews.gov.za

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