Employment and Labour on sentencing proceedings of couple convicted for R10 million UIF Covid-19 TERS fraud postponement

Sentencing proceedings of couple convicted for R10 million UIF Covid-19 TERS fraud postponed to July 2022

The sentencing proceedings for a couple that was convicted of defrauding the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Covid-19 TERS) of R10 million have been postponed by almost two months.

The postponement was granted on Tuesday, 17 May 2022, at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court (SCCC) in Pretoria at the request of the defence team, who argued they were not ready to proceed because a pre-sentencing report was not complete.

On 10 March 2022, Moroko Moremi, 37, and his wife Treasure Moremi, 34, were found guilty of fraud by the SCCC. This was after the couple, who are directors of Denmeng Trading, applied for Covid-19 TERS for 553 workers when they only employed 22.

While Senior State Prosecutor, Willem van Zyl, did not oppose the defence’s request for a postponement, the Presiding Officer, warned that he will not tolerate any further delays on the matter, saying it was not in the interest of justice. The convicted couple is already out on bail and was warned to re-appear in court on 13 July 2022.

The court also heard that the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) will be launching an application into the matter, however, it would be argued fully on 13 July 2022 when arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentence are scheduled to commence.

“To date, joint efforts by the UIF’s Forensic Auditors, the HAWKS, NPA, AFU, Special Investigating Unit and other law enforcement agencies have led to 22 arrests and the recovery of R118 million to the UIF’s coffers. I strongly applaud the gallant and concerted efforts of law enforcement agencies to bring the suspects to justice and the recovery of millions of rands to us. Our “follow the money” project is also progressing well and we anticipate more arrests and recoveries,” said UIF commissioner, Teboho Maruping.

The UIF has already received R2,5 billion in refunds as at 31 March 2022 from employers who miscalculated their claims or kept the money longer than what was agreed upon in the memorandum signed with the UIF.

Source: Government of South Africa