Three suspects, among them two police officers, are this morning expected to appear before the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for allegedly defrauding and laundering proceeds from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) COVID-19 relief funds.
This comes after the trio, aged between 25 and 39, were arrested in Durban on Monday afternoon by the Germiston Serious Corruption Investigation unit assisted by their Durban counterparts.
The suspects are alleged to have fraudulently pocketed over R692 000 which was meant for a company called National Adhesive.
In a statement, Gauteng Hawks spokesperson, Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu, said National Adhesive applied for COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) relief funds for their employees and their application was duly processed.
“It however emerged that the company’s banking details were fraudulently changed and an amount of R692 185.55 was deposited into a different bank account,” she said.
Subsequent investigations revealed that the account belonged to a police official from the Durban Central Tactical Response Team.
He allegedly transferred the money into different bank accounts belonging to another police official and two civilians.
Warrants of arrest were issued against the two police Sergeants and a civilian.
Mulamu said the fourth suspect was not arrested but was warned to appear in court with the other three as he was cooperating with the investigations.
Almost R240 000 of the proceeds has already been frozen while efforts to recover the stolen money are already underway.
Mulamu said the investigation team has also seized a NP200 bakkie as well as a stand that was purchased through the proceeds of crime. Both will be forfeited to the state.
In the statement, national Hawks head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, welcomed the arrests and commended the Hawks’ Priority Crimes Specialised Investigation, Financial Intelligence Centre, National Prosecution Authority, and Asset Forfeiture Unit for the speedy investigations.
The arrests come a month after law enforcement pounced on five suspects in a similar scheme in Gauteng that fleeced the UIF of R6 million.