RAF FRAUD CRACKDOWN
Bleeding Road Accident Fund prevents almost R2.7bn in fraudulent claims
The Road Accident Fund, which has been bleeding funds for decades, says its forensic investigation department prevented fraudulent claims to the value of almost R2.7bn over the past three financial years.
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) recorded a deficit of R8.43-billion for the 2022/23 financial year compared with a surplus of R428-million for the 2021/22 financial year. Management maintains this was largely due to the fuel levy not being increased over the past two years, during which time inflation shot up to an average of 6.9%.
However, Parliament heard this week that the RAF’s forensic investigation department, with other law enforcement agencies, repudiated 5,333 fraudulent claims over the past three years: 4,172 in 2020/21; 448 in 2021/22 and 713 in 2022/23.
Over the same period, 32 people were arrested – an attorney received the highest censure with a jail term of 12 years.
RAF chief executive Collins Letsoalo says those arrested included doctors, attorneys, RAF employees, road accident victims and employees of corporate companies who have access to road crash information.
“The types of crimes committed against the RAF include the submission of fraudulent claims, solicitation of funds from RAF claimants for work conducted to assist with a claim and theft of claimants’ funds,” he says.
Seven staff members were suspended between 2020/21 and 2022/23 following internal RAF investigations, while another six employees resigned during further probes or hearings from 2020/21 to 2022/23.
Letsoalo says “hundreds of cases” have been referred to the police following preliminary investigations. These include 449 cases over the past year, 270 in 2021/2022, and 172 in 2020/21.
As reported in Business Tech, the RAF fraud investigations unit is looking into duplicate claims where payments are made to victims, attorneys and sheriffs; procurement and tender irregularities, and payments to service providers.
“Fraud continues to represent a significant risk to the RAF’s assets, service delivery, efficiency and reputation. It robs claimants and dependents of the deceased of their livelihood. It also creates a negative impact on the socioeconomic status of the country.
“We will continue to vigorously pursue any party – internally or externally – that engages in fraudulent activities or attempts to do so,” Letsoalo says. DM