KZN businessman's account frozen for pocketing almost R700k in UIF money

24 July 2020 - 16:56 By Orrin Singh
The NPA has frozen bank accounts linked to a Durban businessman after money was fraudulently, or mistakenly, paid into his personal bank account.
The NPA has frozen bank accounts linked to a Durban businessman after money was fraudulently, or mistakenly, paid into his personal bank account.
Image: 123RF/olegdudko

A number of bank accounts linked to a KwaZulu-Natal man, who allegedly defrauded the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) of almost R700,000, have been frozen by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

NPA national spokesman Sipho Ngwema said on Friday that bank accounts linked to Durban businessman Thokozani Mchunu were frozen following suspicions that he fraudulently received funds from the UIF.

"It is alleged that an amount of R692,185.55 was fraudulently or mistakenly paid into a bank account in Durban which is registered in Mchunu’s name," Ngwema said.

The NPA said on April 15, a Durban-based company, National Adhesive Distributors CC, successfully applied to the Covid-19 relief fund for R692,185.55 on behalf of its employees and their dependents.

"These relief funds were to be paid over to more than 150 employees and their dependents. On June 12 2020, the UIF was alerted by the company that the funds had not reflected in its bank account. It was discovered the funds went to Mchunu, a private individual who is neither employed by the UIF nor National Adhesive Distributors CC."

Following this discovery, the matter was reported to the police, who alerted the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

It is understood that after receiving the funds, Mchunu transferred portions of the money into other bank accounts held by himself, stokvel accounts and bank accounts of other individuals.

Ngwema said: "The transfer of the funds into the aforementioned accounts was done in an attempt to disguise the origin of the funds.  Police are continuing with  investigations into allegations of fraud, theft and money laundering."

He said the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) applied for and was granted a preservation order to freeze bank accounts linked to Mchunu in the high court in Pretoria. 

"The operation is a direct product of the ‘Fusion Centre’ which was established, among other things, as an urgent intervention to address unlawful activities related to Covid–19 relief funds."

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