The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has welcomed the sentencing of three people who orchestrated an elaborate plan to steal R31 million from the fund.
Tanya Senekal, her husband Jaco Senekal and her mother, Magdil Groenewald were found guilty on a charges of fraud after they submitted more than 500 fake claims to the fund.
The three accused worked as touts, according to the the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“Groenewald prepared 134 claims that stemmed from 10 alleged vehicle accidents,” NPA spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane said.
“The husband and wife prepared 403 claims that stemmed from 30 alleged vehicle accidents. This resulted in a total of 537 individual claims being lodged with the RAF, during 2006.”
Mjonondwane said the trio did not submit the claims themselves but recruited ‘claimants’ to do so.
“They arranged for the persons to be examined by medical practitioners. The accused sold the claims to firms of attorneys and the claims were lodged by those attorneys with the RAF,” she said.
“The attorneys paid the accused R1000 per claim and it later increased to R1500 per claim. The accused were arrested after an investigation revealed their involvement in the RAF fraud scheme.”
The couple was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for fraud, of which two years were suspended for five years, while Groenewald was handed a five-year prison sentence.
RAF Chief Executive Officer, Collins Letsoalo, said fraudulent claims have dire financial and resource implications on the RAF in that employees who handle claims must also sift through fraudulent claims.
“This exercise extends the amount of time it takes to settle valid claims. For this reason, we believe that sentencing related to stealing from claimants and the road users are given maximum sentences and are without suspensions,” he said.