Ongwediva – The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) has confirmed that it has taken a number of people to court for scheming or trying to defraud government out of millions of dollars through misuse of the children’s social grant.
New Era has learned that there are people who have turned the orphans and vulnerable children’s (OVC) social grant at MGECW into a dubious, but lucrative money-making scheme.
MGECW chief public relations officer Walter Kamaya confirmed that the ministry has filed charges against a number of people who reportedly made fraudulent claims so as to access the monthly OVC grant.
It is alleged that some people have now turned the grant into a business venture whereby they collect children from distant relatives and anyone willing to give their children away to be brought up by someone else.
The “children collectors” then register such children for the OVC grant at MGECW and appoint themselves as guardians.
Information from well-placed sources suggests some of the “collectors” go as far as getting children from Angola, secure birth certificates for them and present them to MGECW.
These imposters then claim they are either the biological parents or guardians of the children. Some reportedly claim the children were simply dumped on their doorsteps, hence they do not know where the biological parents are.
Kamaya confirmed that some people have been arrested in connection with the scam and have since appeared in court for fraudulent activities related to the social grant, but added that the line ministry is not aware of any child brought to Namibia from Angola for that purpose.
Kamaya said common acts of fraud against the OVC grant are at times committed by parents, or guardians that make false statements under oath and who obtain a police declaration, claiming they do not have any income.
He further added that some people present themselves as the parents or guardians of the affected children and start to collect money from the ministry, when in fact they do not actually live with the registered beneficiaries they claim to be taking care of.
In cases where someone presents him or herself as the guardian while the child in question is living with someone else, Kamaya said MGECW stops the grant immediately until such time as the family presents the true guardian of the child.
He said those that submit fraudulent claims to the MGEWC can be arrested, as it is a criminal offense.