UIF should fix system that makes it vulnerable to fraud and corruption - Scopa
CAPE TOWN - Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) has urged the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to fix the shortcomings in its information technology (IT) system used for disbursing emergency relief funds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown period.
"The shortcomings of the system have made the UIF vulnerable to fraud and corruption from employees and employers who have made false claims amounting to millions of rand. The committee has asked the UIF to submit a detailed plan on its migration to a better system that will avoid such loopholes that open it up to fraud," Scopa chairman Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement issued after Friday's committee meeting with UIF representatives,
Scopa had also asked the fund to submit a detailed report on the 16 cases of over payments and erroneous payments into bank accounts found so far, he said.
The committee hoped that all those people found to be involved in the fraudulent payments would face consequences. The committee was aware that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) were investigating the R5.7 million paid into the bank account of a single person. Scopa had asked the UIF to submit a detailed report on this issue, that it could "use as a briefing note", by Wednesday, July 1.
Scopa welcomed the disbursement of over R25 billion to four million workers who had been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee, however, was concerned about the administrative delays in processing some disbursements, which had left almost one million employees in the lurch. Scopa believed there should be "a general overflow of communication between the UIF and the workers".
Scopa was aware that the auditor general (AG) was conducting a special audit for the Covid-19 pandemic, the outcomes of which were expected to be released in August. The AG's special audit would test the implementation of preventative controls, detect and audit high-risk items, table special reports in Parliament, and outline consequence management - issues Scopa would ordinarily have focused on.
"Therefore, to avoid the duplication of resources, Scopa will await that process for the outcomes of how the UIF spent funds during this lockdown period," Hlengwa said.
African News Agency