Three directors allegedly claimed the funds using inactive companies whereafter it was distributed among a group of people for their personal enrichment.

A total of 16 people were arrested early on Sunday in connection with alleged Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) fraud after they allegedly claimed funds for 321 employees using dormant companies.

Warrant Officer Bonnie Nxumalo of the Hawks says the suspects, aged between 23 and 57, were arrested in Gauteng and North West provinces during an operation by the team of Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation based in North West.

“It is alleged that in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, three sole directors of different dormant entities applied for Ters funds from the Department of Employment and Labour for 47, 133 and 141 supposed employees,” says Nxumalo.

She says the department paid the funds to companies’ bank accounts.

“The funds were allegedly transferred to certain individuals for personal enrichment. The department suffered a total loss of more than R1.4m due to siphoning activities. The Hawks investigated the matters and warrants of arrests were issued,” she says.

The operation was executed in conjunction with their counterparts in the Hawks’ Tactical Operations Management Section and Hawks’ Priority Crime Specialised Investigation. They were assisted by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The suspects appeared in the Mahikeng District Court yesterday where they were charged with fraud. –

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