RAF closes the net on fraudsters

RAF closes the net on fraudsters. Picture: Dumisani Dube

RAF closes the net on fraudsters. Picture: Dumisani Dube

Published Dec 3, 2023


The Road Accident Fund (RAF) says hundreds of fraudulent cases have been referred to the SAPS following preliminary investigations.

It said 449 cases were referred to the SAPS in 2022/23, 270 cases in 2021/22, and a total of 172 in 2020/21.

The RAF said it successfully halted fraudulent claims valued at R2 605 641 281.07 from being paid over the past three financial years.

The fund said this sterling achievement was as a result of the work done by the RAF’s forensic investigation department, in partnership with various law enforcement agencies.

It said a total of 713 claims were repudiated in 2022/23, 448 in 2021/22, and 4 172 in 2020/21.

In the past three financial years, there had been 32 arrests – 15 in 2022/23, 12 in 2021/22, and five in 2020/21.

The highest sentence over this period was a 12-year direct imprisonment imposed on an attorney.

The institution said it fought corruption internally and externally. This had led to the successful arrest and prosecution of various perpetrators, including doctors, attorneys, RAF employees, road accident victims, and employees of corporate companies who had access to road crash information.

The types of crimes committed against the RAF included the submission of fraudulent claims, the solicitation of funds from RAF claimants for work conducted to assist with a claim, and the theft of claimants’ funds.

Internally, investigations had led to the suspension of seven staff members between 2020/21 and 2022/23. Six employees had resigned during further probes or hearings between 2020/21 and 2022/23.

The fund said the number of cases referred to the SAPS over this period was not directly linked to the arrests and convictions mentioned above.

RAF CEO Collins Letsoalo said they remained alert and investigated each case as it arose.

“Fraud continues to represent a significant risk to the RAF’s assets, service delivery, efficiency and reputation. It robs claimants and dependants of the deceased of their livelihood.

“It also creates a negative impact on the socio-economic status of the country.

“We will continue to vigorously pursue any party – internally or externally – that engages in fraudulent activities or attempts to do so,” said Letsoalo.

Last week, The Star reported that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) confirmed launching an investigation into 102 law firms (which included the sheriffs) that allegedly defrauded the RAF of about R340 million.

The SIU said the RAF investigation is divided into four phases: firstly, duplicate claims –payments made to attorneys, claimants and sheriffs and change of mandates; secondly, procurement and tender irregularities (fruitless and wasteful expenditure); thirdly, payments made to service providers in terms of the RAF Act and/or contract; and fourthly. fraudulent claims.

The SIU anticipated that the investigation would be completed by June 30, 2024.

“The SIU is investigating 102 law firms, including the sheriffs, which received duplicate payments from RAF of approximately R340 million. The SIU has signed acknowledgements of debt to the value of R70 951 378.08. Of the R340m, an amount of R317 670 489 has been recovered to date,” said SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

The RAF said that when approached with the evidence, several legal practitioners opted to co-operate with the investigation by signing acknowledgements of debt (AOD).

The SIU has referred 12 law firms/legal practitioners to the NPA and five practising practitioners to the Legal Practice Council.

The institution said it was in the process of identifying the RAF officials who had caused the duplicate payments.

Kganyago said the investigation had begun in 2021 and they would look at all procurements and duplicate claims that had happened.

“We are hoping that most of the work that we are doing will be finished by next year.

“We have four areas that we are looking at, and we hope that by June next year all of them will have been finished,” Kganyago said.

The Star