Bookkeeper's 135-year sentence for defrauding Covid-19 relief fund

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Bookkeeper Lindelani Gumede defrauded the Ters fund of more than R11m.
Bookkeeper Lindelani Gumede defrauded the Ters fund of more than R11m.
Silindelo Masikane/ Twitter
  • Bookkeeper Lindelani Gumede was sentenced to 135 years for defrauding the UIF TERS fund.
  • National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said some sentences would run concurrently and he will serve 20 years behind bars. 
  • Gumede was a private bookkeeping consultant for the companies whose credentials he used to apply for the fund. 

A bookkeeper who defrauded the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) of more than R11 million has been given a 135-year jail term.

On Thursday,  the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced bookkeeper Lindelani Gumede to the hefty sentence for defrauding the UIF of more than R11 million in Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) funds. 

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said some sentences would run concurrently, and Gumede would serve an effective 20 years behind bars. 

Gumede, who was arrested in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, in August last year following an investigation by the Hawks, processed fraudulent TERS claims on behalf of four Gauteng bakeries, including Country Pies and LPG Clotilda.

READ | NPA boss charged with corruption wins court battle to have indictment amended before trial starts

He worked as a private bookkeeping consultant for the bakeries.

Mjonondwane said the companies were Gumede's private clients but had not submitted applications for the relief fund to the Department of Labour which processed applications and disbursed the funds at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

She told News24 Gumede acted alone in committing the crimes as he had all the bakeries' credentials. 

According to the NPA charge sheet, Gumede purported to be an employee of the companies he defrauded. 

He submitted the same FNB account for all applications. 

In sentencing Gumede for 32 counts of fraud, Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi said Gumede exploited the Covid-19 measures meant to help the needy, saying he "unashamedly exploited the system meant to assist the poor". 

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