Alleged TERS fraudster ’worked with UIF employees’
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CAPE TOWN - Businessman Thabo Simbini, the sole director of a company called Impossible Services (PTY) Ltd, who allegedly defrauded the Department Employment and Labour of over R10 million had to have complicit staff working for the UIF, says labour lawyer Michael Bagraim.
Impossible Services (PTY) Ltd had allegedly submitted over 6 000 Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) claims to the tune of R111 million using duplicated ID numbers. The claims for various employees were made using the online claim process of DoEL.
He now faces criminal charges, according to the Special Investigative Unit (SIU).
“To go to such an extent there had to be staff making payments to the business fraudster. The real issue is to see whether the police take action not only against the business person but also the internal staff who assisted in this massive fraud. Even the commissioner has been suspended on full pay for over a year and is not back at his post. He needs to face internal disciplinary inquiries and the police. Consequence management is not practised by government departments. I have a strong belief that they are going to whitewash internal discipline.”
Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi referred allegations relating to irregularities on the UIF to the SIU in August last year.
The SIU said Simbini used over 1 200 ID numbers that were duplicated by himself in order to generate the claims.
The matter was revealed to the unit by a whistleblower, who alleged that the private company claimed TERS money on his behalf and he never received all of his money.
“The company was approached and it was established that the private company was operational during the lockdown period and overpayments were made to the private company which the company agreed to pay back. According to records the only registered employee of Impossible Services was Simbini himself. There was therefore no other registered employees for Impossible Services that TERS money could be claimed for.
“The money was paid into the bank account of Impossible Services and at this stage R110 million is preserved. An amount of over R1 million was already withdrawn by Simbini. It was established that Simbini moved the money from one bank account to another from time to time to avoid detection by the UIF through an algorithm on money not spent,“ the SIU said.
A criminal case was opened and Simbini appeared in court in September, the SIU said. The case was postponed to November 30, to set a trial date.