Hawks arrest five suspects for alleged theft of R5.7m in UIF funds

Five vehicles, including an Evoque, were recovered. It’s suspected that the vehicles, among other items, were bought with UIF funds.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) has arrested five suspects for allegedly taking their share of R5.7 million in Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) funds meant for the needy.

Five suspects, two females and three males, aged between 25 and 68, were arrested early on Saturday morning, 4 July, in an operation by the Gauteng Serious Commercial Crimes Unit.

FIVE ARRESTED FOR UIF FRAUD

The arrests come after an intensive investigation into a case registered at Brooklyn SAPS relating to the UIF COVID-19 relief.

The suspects, according to Colonel Katlego Mogale, were traced to various residences in Soshanguve, Atteridgeville and Mamelodi in Gauteng.

“Five vehicles including an Evoque were recovered from the scenes as well as other items suspected to have been bought with the monies which weren’t meant for the suspects,” said Mogale.

The National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya applauded the members for the arrests and encouraged that due diligence be conducted to ensure that those who defraud the nations are dealt with in the full might of the law.

The suspects will appear on Monday 6 July 2020 in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.

DA QUESTIONS THULAS NXESI 

On 29 June, DA Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour Dr Michael Cardo said there was clearly something wrong at the UIF that goes beyond “system glitches”.

A week prior, it was revealed that R5.7 million in UIF funds, intended for hundreds of workers impacted by the national lockdown, was paid to one single person.

Cardo said the “money was then rapidly disbursed to friends and business associates of the recipient over the course of five days.”

“This instance of fraud and money-laundering, which surely required the involvement of UIF officials to succeed, is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Most public institutions in South Africa are regarded as a private piggy bank for venal officials, and it would be surprising if the UIF were any different,” he added.

Cardo said the UIF’s “tardiness” in disbursing benefits, is having a devastating impact on the livelihoods of millions of workers and their families.

“[This] raises a critical question: Is the UIF running out of money?” he asked.

“The UIF is already struggling to pay Ters on time. Minister Nxesi needs to take the nation into his confidence, announce when the application for June benefits will open, and be honest about whether the UIF can honour its obligations,” said Cardo.

 

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