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The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) is investigating UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) fund fraud and money-laundering.

The Sunday Times report stated that nearly R6 million in COVID-19 relief funds – intended for 200 workers at risk of starvation – were diverted to one man.

The report states that in an instant Tshepang Phohole went from having R12 in his account to more than R5 million. The money was then quickly sent to friends and businesses over the course of five days.

The AFU and police are now probing the UIF to establish whether employees acted in concert with Phohole.

The AFU has frozen 28 bank accounts in connection with the fraudulent transaction.

By May 27, when the Financial Intelligence Centre froze Phohole’s account, only R7,155.86 remained. Another R100,201.33 was found in another Capitec account in his name and a total of R3.2m in friends’ accounts. There is no information about what has happened to the remaining R2.4 million.

The UIF’s relief scheme has paid out more than R21 billion since the beginning of April to more than 3.6-million workers, the department of labour reported on Monday.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said: “The asset forfeiture unit working with state agencies working with other state agencies quickly froze the money and now the money has been preserved by the court, those accounts have been frozen.”

For more read: COVID-19 relief: NPA freezes 28 bank accounts as huge UIF ‘fraud’ comes to light

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