In South Africa, a fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) payment has resulted in a packer at a paint warehouse becoming an instant millionaire.
Tshepang Phohole received a 5.7 million rands (128 million naira) payout from the UIF which was supposed to go to 1,400 workers for lockdown relief. Instead, he and his family allegedly defrauded the state and went on a massive spending spree. The UIF payment was originally meant to go to CSG Resources, a labour brokerage company, but instead, the funds landed up in Phohole’s account.
Thobile Lamati, the director-general of the labour department informed parliament’s standing committee on public accounts on Friday that Phohole created a new profile as an employer using CSG’s UIF number and entered his own banking details into the system. “When the company tried to access the system, they were blocked. They then requested a new password and were given access. They uploaded their employees, but overlooked the changed banking details,” he said.
On the day that the money was paid into Phohole’s account, he transferred the money into a number of different ones according to court documents. R1-million to his father Godfrey Mojela, R980 000 to his sister Itumeleng Masoko, R2.3-million to his brother-in-law Tebogo Masoko and R1.25-million to Taetso Zulu. The following 2 days saw the money being exchanged between the accounts. This was an attempt to obfuscate the source of the funds and confuse investigators.
Court papers reveal that the family used the funds to buy new tombstones for late family members and to renovate a cafe.
His mother, Meisie Mojela, described him as a “good boy” who was caring and compassionate – and who had never before found himself on the wrong side of the law.