UIF on a mission to get back fraudulently claimed Covid-19 TERS funds

The unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is on a mission to get back money fraudulently claimed through the UIF Covid-19 TERS scheme over the past few years.

In 2020 the UIF had around R160 billion in its coffers for Covid-19 temporary employee relief, of which it paid R61 billion in claims.

During a media briefing on Thursday in Cape Town, Uif Commissioner Tebogo Maruping revealed that R3.4 billion in money stolen through the relief scheme has voluntarily been returned to the UIF.

Maruping said during the disbursement of the relief funds, they indicated that they would introduce the “follow the money” project to ensure that no funds were abused or misused by employers.

He said they have appointed 6 forensic auditing firms to conduct phase 2 of the “follow the money” project, which is set to start in July and expected to be concluded by 12 months.

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“We had targeted around R14 billion in the first six months. We were able to confirm that R12.8 billion was paid correctly by the employers to their employees and all the processes was done properly,” 

In the process they were able to recover R918 million, while R357 million was paid out in suspected fraudulent claims, which were reported to the law enforcement.

He said as the cases were investigated and came to light in the media, companies were triggered and started transferring money back to the UIF account.

“Companies started to come forward and started transferring money into the UIF bank account, they transferred about R2.5 billion, when you add the R918 million we recovered the whole amount came to R3.4 billion,” added Maruping.

The UIF now has R120 billion in its coffers and is certain about 91% of the relief funds were accurate payments.

Maruping said UIF employees are no exclusion in the investigation into their possible involvement of the stolen funds.

“We are also investigating possible insider involvement from our employees. We are not going to disclose as yet the extent, but we are pursuing those cases and at the right time we will make the necessary announcement,” said Maruping.

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