News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
20 Jun 2020
1:39 pm

Asset forfeiture unit freezes accounts linked to R5 million in Covid-19 Ters fraud

News24 Wire

The money was allegedly paid into a wrong account, before several transfers being made to other accounts in order to launder the money

Picture: iStock

Accounts linked to the alleged money laundering of Covid-19 unemployment funds have been frozen by the Assets Forfeiture Unit.

On Friday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted the AFU a preservation order for more than R3.2 million in relation to funds paid fraudulently or mistakenly into the bank account of a labour broking company employee, said National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.

The suspect is an employee of a client of CSG Resourcing.

CSG Resourcing, a labour broking company, applied for Covid-19 relief of more than R5.6 million from the Department of Labour’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for its clients. The UIF Covid-19 relief funds were to be paid over to more than 200 employees, of different companies, by CSG Resourcing and was approved by the UIF.

However, instead of being paid into a bank account nominated by CSG Resourcing, the money was paid into Tshepang Phohole’s account. This was discovered after CSG Resourcing queried why the relief funding did not reflect on their account, despite being approved by the UIF.

Accounts frozen

“Following the discovery, the matter was reported the South African Police Service (SAPS) by CSG Resourcing. The SAPS referred it to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for urgent interventions on the bank accounts,” Ngwema said.

Initial investigations revealed that after the funds entered Phohole’s account, portions were quickly transferred into numerous other bank accounts held by Phohole and various other individuals.

“This constitutes fraud and or theft. These numerous other accounts were then utilised to further transfer the funds into other accounts, thereby attempting to disguise the original origin of the funds, and by doing so committing the offence of money laundering,” said Ngwema.

The accounts were frozen on 4 June, after the FIC issued intervention notices to the various banking institutions for a 10-day period to assist law enforcement agencies with their process of possible recovery, he said.

The investigation is ongoing, as law enforcement agencies are awaiting a statement form the UIF that shows how the Covid-19 relief payment was manipulated to be paid into the account of Phohole, Ngwema added.

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