SIU recovers R71m in undue Covid-19 relief benefits

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has recovered at least R71-million from companies that unduly claimed from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

This after the corruption-busting unit commenced investigations into TERS funding in June 2021.

“The SIU was authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations made in respect of the affairs of the UIF in terms of Proclamation R.8 of 2021. The SIU investigated TERS payments to persons who were not entitled to receive such payments; submitted false, irregular, invalid or defective applications to the UIF, including the causes of such maladministration,” read SIU the statement.

The TERS was set up by the government in order to assist struggling companies during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

“To date, the SIU has recovered cash to the value of approximately R 71.4-million since it commenced with investigations. The figure includes R 9.9-[million] that was paid directly to the UIF by companies.”

According to the SIU, some of the companies that paid money directly to UIF include the South African Airways Technical, which paid back R8.8-million and RH Matjhabeng Hospital, a private hospital in the Free State province, among others. The hospital paid back R488,458.21.

“The SIU investigation revealed that the hospital was not supposed to have applied and received TERS funds as their operations were not affected by Covid-19. The hospital management confirmed that it unduly received the funds and agreed to pay back the money to the SIU. Immediately after an agreement was reached, the hospital deviated from the agreement held with the SIU and paid back the money directly into the UIF account instead of the SIU,” added the unit.

The unit said that it has referred any evidence of criminality to the National Prosecuting Authority for possible prosecution.

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