Two Durban Tactical Response Team (TRT) officers have appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court for allegedly stealing Covid-19 related Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) money.
The officers, sergeants Thokozani Mchunu and Nqobile Mzimela, along with their co-accused, Siboniso Percival Khanyile, appeared in court on Tuesday facing charges of fraud, theft and money-laundering amounting to R692 000.
Mchunu and Mzimela are attached to the SAPS Tactical Response Team based at Durban Central Police Station.
The UIF money was allegedly fraudulently paid into a bank account registered in Mchunu’s name.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara said that, on 15 April, a Durban-based company, National Adhesive Distributors CC, successfully applied to the Covid-19 relief fund for R 692 185.55 on behalf of its employees and their dependents.
“These relief funds were to be paid over to more than 150 employees and their dependents. Two months later, the UIF was alerted by the company that the funds had not reflected in their bank account.
“It was discovered that the funds went to Mchunu, a private individual who is neither employed by the UIF nor the National Adhesive Distributors CC,” Kara said.
After receiving the funds, it is alleged Mchunu transferred portions of the money into other bank accounts held by himself, various Stokvel accounts and bank accounts belonging to his co-accused.
“The transfer of the funds into the aforementioned accounts was done in an attempt to disguise the origin of the funds,” Kara further alleged.
The three accused were remanded in custody to 31 August for a bail application.
The matter was transferred to the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court.