Auditors will investigate whether employers paid TERS fund benefits to their employees.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has appointed forensic auditors to start the “follow the money project” for companies that received money through the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).
The Department of Employment and Labour recently released a statement explaining that employers can expect a knock on their doors from forensic auditors who will be examining their financial records to check the authenticity of their claims and verify if the money was paid over to workers.
"Over the past few months, we have seen with great disappointment that some companies received the Covid-19 TERS benefits, but failed to pay it over to their workers. There are also allegations that employers were paying part of the money and not the full amount, as well as companies using the money for something else other than the intended purpose,” said acting UIF commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst in the statement.
Earlier this month, a case of fraud was opened by the Department of Employment and Labour inspectors against a Western Cape NPO which is accused of illegally applying and receiving close to R5 million from the fund. The Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) fraud investigations have also led to several arrests and charges, as well as bank accounts being frozen and assets seized.
“Just this this week, the National Prosecuting Authority froze R111 million from a businessman who allegedly claimed Covid-19 TERS for 6,600 people when he was the only worker. More cases will follow for those who tried to take a shortcut and they will be held to account,” said the commissioner, explaining that the fund was serious about eliminating fraud given the plethora of complaints and allegations that some companies were stealing the money that was intended for their workers.