Saturday, September 23, 2023

Rogue claimants want MVA money by hook or by crook

The Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund is facing a number of battles amongst them an attempt by accident victims whose aim is to swindle monies from the fund.

At the Francistown branch, the MVA continues to face-off with ‘clients’ whose aim is to embezzle money through fraudulent means.

Branch Manager, Keitumetse Mose Nkala confirmed that some ‘clients’ have turned rogue adding that his office has more often encountered a number of motor accident victims who embezzle or attempt to defraud the Fund. While he could not produce the number of such cases and a total sum embezzled from the organization at the time, he said such cases were rampant.

“What these claimants do is that they approach different MVA Fund Branches with the same claim. We are now very alert to such criminal activities. They make false claims for compensation and other financial benefits in connection with road accidents,” he said.

He however warned that such culprits will face prosecution and even imprisonment. Nkala also said some of those who had been found on the wrong side of the law have been prosecuted or forced to pay back the funds that they acquired from the Fund fraudulently.

Some of the criminal activities include false claims for loss of earnings after a road accident, false salary slips, forging employer signatures and continuing to receive compensation although being employed, false claims for loss of support and collusion with medical practitioners to submit false medical evidence.

“We urge members of the public to report such fraudsters. We have an anonymous report toll free line where such culprits can be reported,” he said.

He however explained to clients on the importance of understanding the Group Life Assurance (GLA). GLA is known as death in service benefit which an employer may offer to their employee or employees. It is set up by the employer to cover the employee while they are employed within the organization. Nkala said this service is payable to the dependent in the event of death of a member while still in active employment of a participating employer or member of a specified group.

“It is important for you to understand when and how MVA Fund can cover you or when you can make claims. GLA is important because it protects your spouse and children from potentially devastating financial losses that could result if something happened to you. It provides financial security, helps pay off debts, helps to pay living expenses and helps to pay any medical or final expenses. It is also important for employers to explain all these to their employees,” he said.

He also said it is important for clients to understand the Workers Compensation Claim (WCC). He said this is where claimants are entitled to be compensated or paid in terms of any Workers Compensation or employment contract and are also entitled to be compensated by MVA Fund. Explaining the process, he said the Fund can pay the claimant and where the Fund has paid such benefit without the necessary deduction, the Fund shall be entitled to be reimbursed by the employer such sums ought to have been paid to the claimant by the employer.

“Where the sums were paid by the employer to the claimant, the Fund shall be entitled to be reimbursed such sums by the claimant (Secondary Insurer),” he added.

Amongst other important issues, Nkala further said the Workers Compensation Act No.23 of 1998 requires an employer to pay compensation to any employee who is incapacitated through a work-related injury or occupational disease. He said employers are also required to take up an insurance to cover liability under the Act. He emphasized that the amount of compensation payable under section 28(1)(a) of the Act shall in respect of medical, surgical, dental, hospital treatment, skilled nursing services and supply medicines be a total amount not exceeding P75 000.

“I think it is important for our stakeholders and clients to understand this issue because more often they blame the Fund for refusing to take responsibility or require it to paying more than it is supposed to. It is also very important for employers to insure their employees. It is a fact that some of the employers do not want to ensure their employees. Such employers should be reported to the relevant authorities,” he said.

“The amount of compensation payable to an accident victim under section 28(1) (b) and (c) of the Act shall in respect of supply, fitting, maintenance, repairs and normal renewal of any artificial limb,apparatus or mechanical aid be a total amount not exceeding P10 000 and in respect of reasonable transport charges be a total amount not exceeding P1 500,” Nkala added.

The services offered to motor accident victims by MVA Fund include amongst others, loss of income, loss of support by dependents, medical treatment, rehabilitation and equipment, funeral expenses, caregiver, incidental expenses including accommodation, transport and subsistence costs.


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