Man found guilty of TERS fund fraud after stealing SANDF member’s identity

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the imprisonment of a man who stole the identity of a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) member and used it to commit fraud related to the COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS).

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the man, Admirer Sibanda, was found guilty of fraud and identity theft and will serve a year in prison.

Kganyago explained that the fraud was identified when the identity number attached to a TERS application was linked to SANDF member Betwel Juwele.

“The SIU’s investigations found that a certain Juwele applied through his employer, Multi-Rect Construction, to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and claimed UIF-TERS during the National State of Disaster. The bank statement and Multi-Rect Construction payment report showed that Juwele received TERS payments between March 2020 and April 2021.

“An Identity Document (ID) with the same names and ID number used to apply for TERS was used by an employee of SANDF, which prompted the SIU investigation. The real Juwele, who is based in Pretoria, uses a smart card, while Sibanda used an ID book of Juwele to apply for TERS in East London. The real Juwele stated that he never worked for Multi-Rect Construction,” Kganyago said.

He added that once the fraud was discovered, the evidence was handed over to other law enforcement agencies for criminal prosecution.

“In line with the SIU Act, the SIU referred evidence pointing to criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority for further action. Sibanda was arrested by the South African Police in December last year in East London, and he confessed to the crime.

“The imprisonment of Sibanda is a clear demonstration by State institutions of the implementation of the SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management,” Kganyago said.

Sibanda is expected to be deported back to his country of origin, Zimbabwe, after he has served his sentence.