How to spot a fake BEE certificate

22 Sep How to spot a fake BEE certificate

Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs) with an annual turnover of more than R10 Million, and larger entities with an annual turnover of more than R50 Million require a BEE compliance certificate in order to procure business from Government. Unfortunately, this has led to the selling of fake BEE certificates by bogus BEE verification agents to both unscrupulous business owners intent on taking a ‘short cut’, and to honest business people who are simply caught unawares. To avoid being duped, here’s how to spot fake BEE certificates…

Identifying fake BEE credentials

While it can be difficult to immediately spot fake BEE certificates, there are some tell-tale signs:

  • The certificate is based on the old codes
  • The B-BBEE verification agency’s logo is low resolution, discoloured or incorrect in size
  • The verification agency’s contact details, VAT and registration number are incorrect
  • The measured entity’s address, VAT or registration number are incorrect
  • The annual turnover or number of employees of the measured entity is understated
  • Incorrect points are allocated to certain elements, for example, a score of ten points is given for the Ownership element, when there are only eight available
  • The certificate has inconsistent text alignment, size, and spacing
  • The certificate is not signed
  • The date of issue and expiry aren’t clear and valid for the current period
  • The B-BBEE status level is not relevant to the status level of each of the new code elements.

The consequences of possessing a fake BEE certificate

The BEE Commission, established by the DTI earlier this year, has been given a mandate to investigate and deal with BEE transgressions such as fronting and fraud. Fake BEE certificates are regarded as the misrepresentation of B-BBEE credentials, a fraudulent practice. The DTI maintains that ‘if an entity is found in possession of a fraudulent B-BBEE certificate, the entity’s details will be dealt with in accordance with the provision of the law’. The consequences – serious fraud charges and prohibition from conducting business with the public sector, which come with a fine of 10% of the company’s annual turnover and/or imprisonment. Even companies which use suppliers with fake certificates risk their own scorecard being declared invalid.

How to spot and avoid being issued with a fake BEE certificate

There have been incidences of fake BEE certificates being sold on the streets. Be wary of self-styled vendors or persons posing as officials who will, for a fee, quickly issue a BEE certificate that’s fake.  Rather be safe and only deal with approved BEE verification agencies that are members of the Association of BEE Verification Agencies (ABVA). This way, you’ll know that your BEE certificate is indeed valid and that you’re getting the advice and expertise you need.

BEE certification with peace of mind

SAB&T is an accredited BEE agency which has been involved with the BEE Codes of Good Practice since their inception. We’ll help you understand and comply with the current B-BBEE codes. To get your valid BEE certificate, contact us

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