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Hammanskraal man found guilty of stealing almost R100K from his employer’s UIF Covid-19 TERS funds

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File Photo

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Pretoria - The Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has found Moreroa Moses Leso of Hammanskraal guilty of theft of almost R100 000 from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS).

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana, in 2020, the 64-year-old was employed by Mega Bus Couch Pty (LTD) as a bus driver.

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The company had applied for TERS funds from the Department of Labour on behalf of 1 400 employees during the hard lockdown period.

“However, an amount of over R4.7 million was mistakenly paid into Leso’s Capitec account instead of the company’s Standard Bank account.

“Immediately after receiving the funds, Leso deposited R4m into his daughter’s bank account for safekeeping and kept the rest for his personal use. In court he said he used some of the funds to pay his debts and buy food,’’ Mahanjana said.

After an enquiry by the company about why they were not receiving payment from the Department of Labour, it was discovered that the money was paid into Leso’s personal account.

“He subsequently paid R4.6m back to the Department of Labour. He was then arrested and released on bail on 31 August, 2020.”

The matter was postponed to 14 June, 2022 for sentencing.

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In another similar story, more than R35m which was misappropriated from the UIF Covid-19 TERS is to be reimbursed after the CEO of the Eastern Cape Transport Tertiary Co-Operative Limited (ECTTC), Dr Nokuthula Mbebe, made numerous fraudulent applications.

Mbebe made the applications to the UIF for TERS payments in April 2020.

These funds were preserved from 36 different bank accounts belonging to the ECTTC and its affiliate taxi co-operatives and linked business entities. All accounts were frozen upon being identified.

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NPA regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said: “The ECTTC has, to date, tried on four separate occasions to have the High Court reconsider the preservation orders and these efforts were finally dismissed by the court on 26 May, 2022.

“This prompted the AFU, on behalf of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), to place the matter on the High Court roll on 7 June, 2022 and to apply for the forfeiture of all the preserved property, which was granted.”

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