Suspects accused of stealing R5.6 million from UIF COVID-19 Relief Fund have appeared at the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, according to a statement from the Hawks.

The five accused were charged with 30 counts of fraud and/or an alternative count of theft, as well as 28 counts of money laundering involving R5 688 377.60 of UIF COVID-19 relief fund, which was allegedly stolen from the Department of Labour.

The accused, namely Tshepang Howard Phohole (25), Taetso Zulu (22), Tsietsi Godfrey Mojela (68), Itumeleng Charlene Maseko (39) and Tebogo Andries Nchimane Maseko (40) along with with a company that has been accused, Dilsfinest Café (PTY) were traced and arrested at various residences in Soshanguve, Atteridgeville and Mamelodi on Saturday morning.

The arrest and appearance in court of the six suspects follow an intensive investigation into the case which was registered at Brooklyn SAPS relating to the Unemployment Insurance COVID 19 relief fund.

The suspects’ bail was set at R5 000 each and their case was postponed to 07 September 2020.