Accused sentenced for Covid-19 TERS fraud

GAUTENG – The Hawks’ Provincial Head, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa welcomed the eight-year sentence meted out against Chisoko Songiso (32) who is a director of Lejiko Capital (Pty) Ltd by the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on 18 July 2022, for defrauding Covid-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) funds (TERS) of almost R1 million.

During the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, the accused applied for TERS funds after creating ghost employees. The application was successfully processed and more than R937 000 was paid into the company's account where it was transferred into Songiso’s personal account.

The matter was reported to the Hawks for investigation after the discrepancies were discovered. The investigation further revealed that Songiso was an illegal immigrant and a warrant for his arrest was issued by court. He was traced to Kelvin, Johannesburg where he was apprehended in January 2022. He was charged with theft, money laundering and contravention of the Immigration Act.

On 14 July 2022, Songiso who had been in custody since his arrest, pleaded guilty on all three counts and he was sentenced four days later. He received eight years imprisonment for theft and money laundering with additional three months for contravention of the Immigration Act.

Source: South African Police Service