Tata ma chance: Pensioner arrested for allegedly stealing R4.7m Covid-19 relief money

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The Hawks have arrested a pensioner for allegedly stealing Covid-19 relief money.
The Hawks have arrested a pensioner for allegedly stealing Covid-19 relief money.
PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24
  • A pensioner from Hammanskraal allegedly skimmed almost R5 million from the Covid-19 UIF fund.
  • To date, the Hawks have arrested 14 people for similar offences.
  • This includes three cops who allegedly stole almost R700 000 from the fund.

A 62-year-old pensioner from Hammanskraal scored a sizeable extra pension of R4.7 million by allegedly stealing the money from the UIF's Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

The Hawks Serious Corruption Investigation unit arrested him in Hammanskraal on Sunday for alleged fraud and theft. This brings the number of arrested people linked to UIF TERS fraud to 14, said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Some of the suspects were out on bail, while the 62-year-old pensioner will be charged with fraud, and alternatively with theft and money laundering.

The pensioner was arrested after he allegedly failed to disclose that he became an instant millionaire with money that was meant to remunerate employees of a company that will be disclosed in court papers.

"It is understood the suspect worked for the same company and allegedly used the same reference number from his previous employers to apply for his UIF payout. It was later found after numerous enquiries by the company that the money was actually paid, but was redirected to the suspect's account," Mulaudzi said.

A case was registered and almost R4.6 million has already been recovered. He allegedly used almost R100 000 on himself.

He is expected to appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday.

Three cops arrested

In a separate case, Sergeant Thokozane Mchunu, 34, Sergeant Nqobile Witness Mzimela, 39, and Sboniso Percival Khanyile, 25, will also be appearing in the same court on Monday after they were arrested last week in Durban for alleged fraud and money laundering of R692 000, also linked to the same Covid-19 UIF fund.

National Adhesive applied for relief funds for their employees. However, it emerged that the company's banking details were fraudulently changed and the R692 000 was redirected to another bank account. It was ultimately found that the account allegedly belonged to Mchunu, from the Durban Central Tactical Response Team.

He allegedly transferred the money to Mzimela and Khanyile. Almost R240 000 has already been frozen, a bakkie and an open piece of land were also seized and are expected to be forfeited to the state.

National head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has hailed the team for speedily arresting and bringing suspects to court.

This would not have been possible without a collective effort and the assistance of the National Prosecuting Authority, Asset Forfeiture Unit, Financial Intelligence Centre, Priority Crime Specialised Investigation and the intelligence community, he said.

"Pensioners are supposed to be role models to their children and grandchildren. Without suggesting the guilt on the suspect, the behaviour in this manner suggest a bad role model," said Lebeya.

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