Here’s more evidence that the Ministry of Social Development is a soft touch.
According to its head of fraud, Mike Smith, the department is owed more than $930 million by beneficiaries.
Reporting on what he said yesterday, the Herald says half of that was due to overpayments.
The rest was largely interest free loans.
Benefit fraud debt totalled $65.6 million after $15.9 million was added to it last year – a big increase on the $11.1 million the previous year.
The ministry prosecutes about 800 people a year for benefit fraud and 95 per cent of those are convicted.
The ministry routinely undertakes data matching and data mining programmes and last year checked 538 million records.
Hmm. So not everyone gets away with money they are not entitled to. That’s encouraging.
But the Herald also mentions a recent Auditor-General report.