75 UIF fraud cases under investigation, MPs call for speedy results

Law enforcers should speed up investigations into fraudulent claims at the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the portfolio committee on employment and labour said.
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The portfolio committee on employment and labour has called on law enforcement agencies to speed up investigations into fraudulent claims at the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

The department of employment and labour and the UIF were briefing the committee on Wednesday.

It was revealed that 75 suspect claims were being investigated.

One of the claims involves the theft of R5.7m from the Covid-19 relief fund meant for 1,400 employees.

The suspects in that case –  five people and a company – appeared in the Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court on Monday.

Chairperson of the committee Lindelwa Dunjwa said law-enforcement agencies must move with speed on investigations, so that the employee benefits made available during the Covid-19 lockdown were directed for their intended purpose.

“Those arrested for having acted fraudulently and corruptly should be charged, as corruption has no place in our country. We encourage the UIF to tighten its systems and ensure that there are no weaknesses,” Dunjwa said.

She said the committee was reassured that the UIF system identified the alleged fraudulent transactions that had been flagged.

“We are happy that the department and the UIF are following the money. Working with law-enforcement agencies, the entity should be able to root out corruption.”

Two weeks ago, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) told the UIF to fix the shortcomings in the information technology system it is using for the disbursement of funds during the lockdown.

Scopa said the shortcomings of the system made the UIF vulnerable to fraud and corruption from employees and employers who have made false claims amounting to millions of rand.

The committee has asked the UIF to submit a detailed plan on its migration to a better system that will avoid such loopholes that open it up to fraud.

By ERNEST MABUZA

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