JOHANNESBURG - The month of November marks International Fraud Awareness, during which there is a global effort to promote anti-fraud awareness and education.
According to the Association for Certified Fraud Examiners’ 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, organisations worldwide lose an estimated 5percent of their annual revenues to fraud, which can take many shapes and forms.
South Africa is also grappling widespread fraud and corruption, which severely affect all levels of our society. The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has not been immune and has intensified its efforts to fight this scourge.
Due to this growing menace, the RAF has set up a Forensic and Investigation Department (FID) to pursue fraudsters aggressively, with much success. Over the past five years, the RAF has stopped more than R2billion worth of compensation before payment due to fraudulent activities. In the same period, 1914 convictions and 912 arrests were made by the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and the SAPS.
Corruption’s harmful effects are especially severe on the poor who are hardest hit by economic decline and most reliant on public services and social welfare.
The fund is susceptible to abuse by both external and internal stakeholders, including attorneys, police, medical doctors, employees and touts.
To ensure the RAF adheres to its board-approved Fraud Prevention Policy, the FID has employed people with a range of skills focusing on external investigations, corporate investigations, prosecutions, fraud awareness and cyber fraud.
The digital era has brought convenience and accessibility, however, this practicality has come with a completely new set of risks and fraud. Cyber fraud has become a new threat to information systems, and the RAF’s claims environment is vulnerable to attack under these circumstances, hence efforts to enhance its cyber systems continuously.
The RAF’s Cyber Forensics boasts a multi-discipline of skills that range from investigations, digital forensic and data analysis.
The unit is responsible for data extraction/mining and analysis and acts as an advisory body on cyber fraud issues for the organisation.
There is capacity to do digital forensics through identification, acquisition, preservation, processing and presentation of digital evidence in a forensically sound manner that is acceptable in legal proceedings.
In addition, investigations are performed on computer forensics and virtual desktop forensics.
The unit also uses Open Source Forensic tools to investigate cases of phishing, malware and sextortion.
The RAF views corrupt and illegal practices as abhorrent - it does not tolerate bribery or condone anti-competitive practices in dealings with government and in the marketplace. Employees are forbidden to make contributions or donations for political purposes, and may not solicit or accept gifts, hospitality, benefits or money from any service provider, attorney or claimant.
The ability to deal with corruption and protect money meant for victims of road accidents is attributable to the continued support from government and the public. The RAF will remain committed to discharging its legislative mandate in an ethical organisational climate, thus ensuring the business is run fairly and justly.
Paul Modipa is RAF’s general manager for the Forensic and Investigation Department.