Hawks arrest accountant for UIF TERS fraud of almost R900k

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The Hawks have arrested a chartered accountant for fraud, theft and money laundering.
The Hawks have arrested a chartered accountant for fraud, theft and money laundering.
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  • The Hawks have arrested a chartered accountant for fraud, theft and money laundering.
  • Mark Vorster was released on R10 000 bail by the East London Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
  • The case was postponed to 29 July 2021 in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

A chartered accountant has been arrested for fraud, theft and money laundering related to government's Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), according to the Hawks.

Mark Vorster was released on R10 000 bail by the East London Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, following allegations that he made fraudulent claims for his and other companies to the value of more than R884 000.

READ | Nxesi throws UIF TERS lifeline to help sectors restricted by lockdowns

Vorster is set to appear before the Pretoria Specialised Crime Court next Thursday. A statement from the Hawks said a team in Pretoria investigated and executed Vorster's arrest, seizing a laptop and a cellphone as part of an ongoing investigation. 

"Such discrepancies were discovered by the bank official who also managed to recover half of the money from the accused's bank account," the statement said.

After months of speculation and discussions behind the scenes, the UIF took TERS applications from Monday and will make payments again from 25 July.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi recently issued his directive for the new round payment of UIF TERS payments benefits to contributing employees in sectors that have been restricted by the level 4 lockdown.

The return of the UIF TERS came with concerns of fraudulent behaviour in the claims process. Government has indicated its desire to pay the benefit directly to employees instead of paying through employers, to bypass "unscrupulous employers".

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