A bookkeeper accused of committing Ters fraud to the tune of R11 million is scheduled to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on 31 August 2021.
According to the Government News Agency, the 39-year-old suspect allegedly submitted claims to the Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) on behalf of four clients but “conveniently forgot to make the clients aware” of the claims.
The Department of Employment and Labour welcomed the arrest of the bookkeeper in a statement and confirmed that instead of going to his clients, an amount of R11.1 million was paid into the suspect’s business accounts.
“The intended clients realised something was not fine after they were harangued by their employees for not paying them Ters monies they had claimed and at this point, they reported the matter to the police,” read part of the statement.
The suspect was tracked to Durban and arrested for Ters fraud on Wednesday thanks to joint investigations between the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the police.
A luxury Audi Q2, suspected to be part of the proceeds of crime, was seized reports the Government News Agency.
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“I hope the latest arrest sends a strong and clear message to other would-be fraudsters that the long arm of the law will catch up with you. Those who have helped themselves to the funds earmarked for workers during lockdown should always remember: The long arm of the law is creeping towards them and they will not have peace,” commented Acting UIF Commissioner, Advocate Mzie Yawa.
“Working together with law enforcement agencies, we will continue investigating every lead pointing us to suspected fraudulent activities, and we thank the public for being vigilant about the abuse of Covid-19 Ters funds,” added Yawa.
The advocate then put all would-be fraudsters on notice and said that the UIF “cannot tolerate the siphoning off of workers’ benefits by unscrupulous individuals.”
This comes after the arrest and court appearances of at least 17 suspects around the country for attempting to defraud the UIF’s Covid-19 Ters Scheme.
The fund has, to date, recovered around R827 million through their “follow the money” project.
The UIF anticipates that more proceeds of Ters fraud will be recovered as the project has been extended for a further 12 months.
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Compiled by Kaunda Selisho