It is interesting to note that South Africa was not alone in having to contend with an army of fraudsters as soon as it became known that the usual tender checks and balances were to be dispensed with in handing out emergency Covid relief and funds for protective personal equipment (PPE). The Special Investigating Unit in the police last year was investigating R5 billion in dodgy PPE tenders, covering 658 contracts. That’s about half the total spending announced by the government last year for Covid-19.

This story from the US appears to prove the point that, huiman nature being what it is, wherever free or easy money is doled out, the fraudsters will pick up the lion’s share.

The wheels of justice sometimes move slowly, but they do move eventually. All the more reason to get accountants involved in the process – especially when “emergency” funds are being dispensed – at an early stage.

It’s long been assumed by many politicians and government watchdogs that criminals would make off with at least some of the emergency pandemic relief funds.

State unemployment systems were ill-prepared for the demands of the pandemic. It was widely assumed that some of the hundreds of billions doled out would slip through the cracks, but many politicians said it was critical to get the money out as quickly as possible.